16 Jan2010


Obviously, I have no idea what the Filipino translation for pate should be… :) At any rate, here is a pretty easy, elegant, and tasty appetizer that is great for casual entertaining. There was a generation of folks, mine among them, that liked this homemade chicken liver pate, and it met the twin requirements of being reasonably sophisticated but inexpensive to make. I understand Cory Aquino was quite smitten with chicken liver pate, and used to make it often and send it to friends and family…


I have never made chicken liver pate/spread before and was pleasantly surprised by the simple process. I read several recipes and cobbled together my version and it turned out quite nicely. First, I took a half a kilo of fresh plump chicken livers, cleaned them up, and placed them in about 3 cups of water and placed them on the stove over medium heat until they boiled gently for some 12-15 minutes until done. In the meantime, I sliced two medium-small yellow onions and sauteed them in 2-3 tablespoons of butter until soft and just starting to caramelize or turn golden brown at the edges. I drained the chicken livers, and added them to the butter and onions and increased the heat to give the liver some color and burn off excess moisture…


…next I de-glazed the pan by adding a generous splash or two of sherry, seasoned with some salt and freshly cracked black pepper. I took this off the heat and let it cool for some 20 or so minutes. I put this all into the bowl of a food processor, added some 6-7 slices of prosciutto (a twist, because we had some already sliced) and blitzed this until smooth and well mixed. There were a few bits of prosciutto fat but I liked the texture. Next, I slowly blitzed in about a cup of good sweet butter until well blended and possessed a consistency that made me happy. I added in some shelled pistachios and blitzed for 3-4 seconds, just to mix them in. We had leftover pistachios from the holidays, hence their inclusion, but you could certainly leave them out.


Taste for seasoning and adjust as required, more salt is often needed. Transfer the pate to ramekins or pate dishes and top with more roughly chopped pistachios and cover with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate. Thaw for about 10 minutes before serving with slices of french bread. Great with some cornichons or small pickles on the side. If you want the mixture to be less dense, try whipping the butter first before adding it to the liver puree. Some folks also put mayonnaise for a silkier and wetter consistency. This was a breeze to make. And it tasted good. Definitely “livery” but “rich” because of all that butter. There were hints of the sweet caramelized onions and the prosciutto provided the saltiness and added mouthfeel/richness. The nuts added color and texture while the whiff of sherry was extremely mild… This recipe made two regular sized ramekins and three smaller ramekins and most of them were promptly packed and sent of to friends and family. Two loaves of Lartizan baguettes weren’t enough for this recipe! Any ideas about how to better translate chicken pate? :)



  1. Lee says:

    I think Pate’ is a stylized Filipino word exported to the French. Dead = patay. Liver = atay. Dead Liver = Patay na Atay.. patay.. Pate’

    Jan 16, 2010 | 11:47 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    Lee, my first good laugh of the day. :)

    Jan 16, 2010 | 12:15 pm

  4. Derek says:

    I see you used the russian/ukrainian method rather than the french to make your pate. Western europe normally bake theirs as opposed to boiling then mixing in fat and fried onions.

    Jan 16, 2010 | 1:11 pm

  5. Lee says:

    Pate’ na ang manok Inay, durugin na lang natin ang kanyang ate’

    Jan 16, 2010 | 1:12 pm

  6. renee says:

    To be very pinoy, I think the translation is “Reno” :-p

    Jan 16, 2010 | 1:22 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    Derek, I didn’t even know there were two methods… :) I just did what sounded simple/easy to do…

    Jan 16, 2010 | 1:24 pm

  8. Fred says:

    I’ve always wanted to make my own liver spread ( maybe pate = spread will do?). Will try this with baked livers. Thanks for the recipe MM.

    Jan 16, 2010 | 1:44 pm

  9. Bernice says:

    some people suggest soaking the livers in milk prior to cooking

    Jan 16, 2010 | 2:11 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    Bernice, yes, I think that is to remove “impurities” from the liver…

    Jan 16, 2010 | 2:14 pm

  11. betty q. says:

    bernice: indeed the French soak it in milk para hindi ……PAMA-TAY!!!!!

    Jan 16, 2010 | 2:16 pm

  12. betty q. says:

    Hey Lee…here’s one for you….try saying Pamatay na Pate 10 times!!!!!….mwahahahaha!

    Jan 16, 2010 | 2:28 pm

  13. tina says:

    I’ve always used a recipe for chicken liver pate from “barefoot contessa”. The recipe calls for hard boiled eggs, pulsed for a few sec with the pan-grilled liver. I added an 8oz block of cream cheese to make it smooth. But I’ll definitely try yours with butter and nuts next time. Thanks, MM! I’m a great fan!

    Jan 16, 2010 | 3:54 pm

  14. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    “Pate’ na ang manok Inay…”

    Lee, You have not lost your sense of humor one bit. hahahahaha

    Jan 16, 2010 | 5:39 pm

  15. marilen says:

    “pa-teh” na aco nang tawa!! filipino humor is so rich like “pa-teh”

    Jan 16, 2010 | 9:44 pm

  16. zena says:

    Mwahaha! Lee, that was inspired! MM, I have made chicken liver before where I sauteed bacon with the onions. Not to a crisp but just to cook it. Then I bake mine in a bain marie. I also add some herbs if I feel herby. When I’m lazy, I buy Palm liver spread if I’m cash-strapped, or the one from Santi’s if I’m feeling wealthy, hehe. The Palm brand beats Reno hands and feet down. Sooo much better that I now can not take Reno.

    Jan 16, 2010 | 9:53 pm

  17. thelma says:

    i love liver pate. thanks, mm, i will definitely try your
    recipe next time. lee, you made my day! you’re gifted
    with a great sense of humor!!

    Jan 16, 2010 | 10:20 pm

  18. lc says:

    Love chicken livers in any form. I like the vietnamese brand (I think Flower is the name) better than Reno. Viet delis also sell in bulk. Liver pate and headcheese on banh mi gives it the unctious factor! Chicken livers in new york delis are good too… I think this is the Barefoot Contessa style.

    I make my own cheese pimiento and put in ramekins or french mason jars for giveaways… and now I have another option. Thanks MM! What do you think is the fridge life of pate?

    Jan 17, 2010 | 3:07 am

  19. Vicky Go says:

    Mimi Sheraton (former NYT resto critic & author of “From My Mother’s kitchen”) gives both the broiled & sauteed versions of the Jewish deli staple Chopped Chicken Liver here:


    She uses both or either griebenes (chicken cracklings) &/or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) in her recipe/variations.

    Jan 17, 2010 | 3:37 am

  20. natie says:

    i think the love for this liver dish stems from the liver spread of our childhood.. true Renee-“Reno”

    Jan 17, 2010 | 7:08 am

  21. Ellen says:

    Thanks for the recipe, Marketman! I’ve always experimented with liver pate (with no satisfactory result) because I love chicken liver. With this recipe, I can now make it right.

    Jan 17, 2010 | 8:52 am

  22. Marketman says:

    lc, I honestly don’t know what the refrigerated life of pate would be, but personally I wouldn’t want to keep it more than 4-5 days in the fridge…

    Jan 17, 2010 | 9:18 am

  23. millet says:

    lc, you can keep it a bit longer if you generously coat the top with some melted butter, maybe to a depth of 2 cm. when the butter hardens, it seals in the pate so it doesn’t dry out and harden. but pate has never lasted untouched more than a week in my fridge, so i wouldn’t know exactly how long it lasts. i wouldn’t leave it beyond a week like that, though. once, i added some leftover brandy, and it came out very, very good.

    Jan 17, 2010 | 2:24 pm

  24. emsy says:

    nice one, MM. I love chicken liver! I wonder where I can find cornichons here in the Manila…are they easily found in the supermarkets?

    Jan 17, 2010 | 3:22 pm

  25. Gina says:

    Have never made chicken liver pate, and haven’t eaten it in a while (cholesterol issues), but came across this Mark Bittman article just last month.


    Jan 17, 2010 | 9:01 pm

  26. Esperanza Blevins Idaho Falls, Idaho says:

    Liver spread is the best translation and it taste better. All you have to do is open up a can and be done with it, especially if you’re out of time and trying to impress your guess they woldn’t know the difference. You can just add what ever ingredients you want, arrange your french bread in a nice platter and SURPRISE! French cuisine, pinoy style.

    Jan 18, 2010 | 5:22 am

  27. Esperanza Blevins Idaho Falls, Idaho says:

    Do you have any recipe for pandesal and encemada? Thanks Esperanza

    Jan 18, 2010 | 5:26 am

  28. Tony says:

    I defrosted a pice of chicken liver pate for use over Christmas. It was fine which proves that it keeps well in the freezer for a year at least.

    The Minamilist of the New York Times, Mark Bittman, fries his with onions and a lot of cracked black pepper, blitzes it in the food processor, then adds cream.

    I have some chicken livers in the freezer. I will select the best parts from MM’s and Bittman’s recipes.

    Jan 18, 2010 | 11:51 am

  29. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Love pate..will make this!! Thanks MM!!!

    Jan 19, 2010 | 7:27 am

  30. Candygirl says:

    Lovely french bread…where do you get them, MM?

    Mar 23, 2010 | 3:53 pm


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