Chicken livers always make me think of the early ’70s when my folks and their friends had cocktail parties where they served fancy Rumaki and chicken liver pate. At the time, it all seemed so sophisticated (especially for a small town in the midwest). I couldn’t tell you the last time I had Rumaki, though I like it (and what isn’t good wrapped in crispy bacon?).
So I was looking forward to this recipe, because I thought it would be fun, and Dorie’s dish looked so delicious. I didn’t think it would be a huge stretch. That was before I actually read the description and recipe. Really? It’s supposed to be served warm? Um, ok. And then when I read how this was to be prepared, all I could think of were my fellow Doristas – many of whom I thought might be a bit (!) put off by whirling raw chicken livers in the blender.
But – I was committed, and since I’d often proposed and/or voted for the recipe, I felt honor bound to complete it, even if my week was getting away from me.
The ingredients are actually easy to get, many of them readily on hand. I didn’t have fresh herbs, unfortunately, but since it was a small amount, I hoped it wouldn’t matter. I liked the idea of being able to un-mold these, so wanted to try using some of my fancy molds. I hedged my bets, however, by using some other standard ones. I might share these, but it wasn’t going to be at a dinner party, since I was late in getting to this, so I thought I’d play around a bit. I love these vintage molds, and don’t get to use them often. I have some others as well – so I was hoping this would be a new favorite dish. They get prepped, and sit in a paper towel-lined baking pan.
The ingredients for the gateaux all get whirled together in the blender – chicken livers, eggs, egg yoks, half & half and seasonings. It gets blended to a (sickly?) pink liquid, that is then poured into the molds. Hot water gets added to the pan, and then it all goes into the oven for about 30 minutes. The thing I found about the fancy metal molds is that they floated, so I had to be careful with them, but didn’t have any mishaps. Mental note: less water next time.
The pickled onions are the other component of this recipe. And even if the gateaux doesn’t get made again, these certainly will! I used red onions, because I thought they would be so much prettier, and they are typical for Latin recipes, so I thought I’d at least go off in that direction.
The brine ingredients get combined and simmered. The onions sliced into rings. And then they are added to the brine for a 10-minute simmer of their own. The aroma is heavenly, and I’m so, so very glad that we made these!
The onions cool (they can be made ahead), the gateaux comes out of the oven and cools just a bit too. Since it was so unfamiliar to me, I wanted to try the gateaux when it was warm, so I plated one and added the onions. My spices drifted to the bottom, and so didn’t look quite so pretty. At least it retained the prettier pink, rather than the sort-of unattractive brown-ish color that was the top of the cake while still in the mold.
I was pleased that this unmolded nicely and I think it looked kind of pretty. Of course, the greens would have looked nice too – but was a bit of a stretch with the warm gateaux (for me).
I’m still not sure whether I like this or not. The texture was so unusual, particularly when it was warm. And the flavorings reminded me of more of an old-world sausage with the sage. I did try a bit more cold the next day – and I’ll be sharing a couple later on today and will find out what others think. I’m not sure of the final verdict, though it was very fun to try!!
So, the container of chicken livers I picked up was 1 lb. I decided (since it had reminded me of all of those parties from long ago) that I would use the other 1/2 to make the chicken liver pate that I remember from back then. This is the recipe from our back-door neighbor Lucille Roehrs. My recipe card is in my little kid handwriting (we moved when I was 13, so I couldn’t have been too old!), and I have so many fond memories of Lou, that it may be why I like this so much. But anyway…
8 oz of chicken livers are sauteed in 1 T butter until no longer pink.
Then they are whirled in a food processor or blender. Once cooled slightly, 2 T mayonnaise, 2 T butter, 1 T lemon juice, 2 t finely chopped onion, 4-5 drops of Tabasco, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t dry mustard and a dash of pepper are added. You can blend it all until smooth, or leave it a bit chunkier. This time – smooth it was! This makes about 3/4c.
Once this is chilled, it takes on a really nice spreading consistency. I didn’t bother, but you might be able to mold this one too. I’m sure it would be nice updated with some other flavors as well, or garnished with other things (like those pickled onions!).
So it was a fun time making something new, and something old too! I’m interested in seeing how everyone else did with this recipe. If you are too, you can check on them here.