Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rosie Takes On Chicken Liver Pate.

Show of hands, please, for all you liver-lovers out there. > Rosie waves hand wildly. <
Recently, Mr. Hawthorne smoked two hens in his new favorite toy - a Nordic Ware Stovetop Smoker. We didn't want to smoke the innerds, so I saved the giblets, anticipating some use for them, but not sure what.
I'm a huge fan of giblets. I usually use them in a giblet and mushroom gravy, but that's not going to work here, since we smoked the chicken. I decided to go with a chicken-innerds pate.
My ingredients for chicken-giblet pate: 2 bags of giblets, trimmed 1/2 stick butter handful of mushrooms, chopped 3-4 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 small onion, chopped green peppercorns fresh thyme pinch mace splash of sherry salt and pepper
The giblets are the heart, liver, and gizzard of your bird. In case you don't know what a gizzard is, it's an organ found in the digestive tract of some animals, including birds, reptiles, earthworms, and some fish. Also referred to as the ventriculus, gastric mill, and gigerium, the gizzard is a specialized stomach constructed of thick muscular walls and is used for grinding up food. Some animals that lack teeth will swallow small gravel or grit to aid in digestion. When a bird swallows its food, it's stored in their crop. The food then passes into their glandular stomach, AKA the proventriculus or true stomach. This is secretory part of the stomach. The food then passes into the ventriculus, AKA the muscular stomach or gizzard. A bird might swallow small bits of gravel that act as "teeth" in the gizzard, breaking down hard food such as seeds and thus helping digestion. These gizzard stones or gastroliths are usually round and smooth from the polishing action. When too smooth to do their required work, they may be passed or regurgitated. To trim the giblets, take off the silverskin - that silver colored connective tissue covering the gizzard. Remove any fatty tissue. And chop all into small pieces.
I chopped the shrooms and minced the garlic.
I melted 2 TB of butter in my pan and added in the mushrooms. Brown the shrooms over medium high heat.
Then add in the giblets.
Bear with me for my action shots.
While the giblets were cooking ...
... I did a quick chop of the onion and mince of the garlic.
When the giblets were cooked (about 2 minutes), I added in the onion and garlic.
Cook for another minute.
Add the mixture into a processor.
About a teaspoon of green peppercorns.
A pinch of mace. Mace has a warm, spicy-sweet flavor, similar to nutmeg, but more delicate.
Mace in the mix.
Minced fresh thyme went in - about a teaspoon. and a splash of sherry.
Next, I cubed two TB butter ...
... and added that in.
Process until smooth.
Line a 6-ounce ramekin with plastic and fill with the pate, smoothing the top.
I weighted this down with another ramekin and refrigerated.
Next, I started on the accoutrements- a hard-cooked egg, chopped chives, minced parsley.
For perfectly cooked eggs, put your eggs in a pan of cold water, bring it to a boil, then cover the pan and cut off the heat. In twenty minutes, your eggs will be perfect. To peel, crack egg on the large end where the air pocket is, hold under cold running water, and simply peel. If you boil or cook the egg too long, the protein toughens and becomes rubbery and you get that nasty greenish ring around the yolk. This greenish gray film will form on the surface of the yolk when the temperature of the yolk exceeds 158 degrees. The egg is perfectly OK to eat but the discoloration is just a visual indicator of a natural chemical reaction. Sulfur from amino acids in the egg white (albumen) is reacting with iron in the yolk which causes a film of ferrous sulphide to form on the yolk's surface. Extremely fresh eggs are not recommended for hard-cooked eggs. They are very difficult to peel. With eggs a day or too old, the membrane beneath the shell sticks tightly to the shell, making it very almost impossible to peel. In a fresh egg, the albumen sticks to the inner shell membrane more strongly than it sticks to itself because of the more acidic environment of the egg. The white of a freshly laid egg has a pH between 7.6 and 7.9 and a cloudy appearance due to the presence of carbon dioxide. After the protective coat is washed off the egg shell, the egg becomes porous and begins to absorb air and loose some of the carbon dioxide in the albumen. This reduces the acidity of the egg which causes (after several days in the refrigerator) the pH to increase to around 9.2. At a high pH, the inner membrane does not stick as much to the albumen, so the shell peels off easier. So the older the egg, the easier to peel. The tradeoff is that in the older egg, the white gets thinner and is less able to hold the yolk in place, so in an older egg, the yolk tends to move further from being centered.
I have chopped egg, sliced scallions, chopped chives, chopped parsley. And a chive blossom.
I inverted my Giblet Pate on my dish ...
... and garnished it with egg and herbs.
I sliced seeded rye bread into pieces and toasted them.
Smooth, creamy texture. I loved the giblet flavor and the accents of the the chopped egg and herbs.
If you're into brown and liver, this makes a lovely little appetizer.
I thought the chive blossom was a nice touch. And it's edible.


Anonymous said...

I had no idea that you were in the local area Rosie. Hope that you enjoyed Galveston. I've been hiding out for a while. Hope that everything is going well. Bucky Katt

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Long time, no hear, Bucky. Hope all is well with you.

Kathy said...

Rosie, if I actually liked liver and would consent to put it in my mouth, this would have looked very good. Trust me, that's a compliment.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

But it's a nice egg lesson. Right?

Kathy said...

Eggcellent egg lesson. And your egg is a thing of beauty. I could eat a hard-boiled egg sandwich every day.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I could fix you a hard-COOKED egg sandwich everyday!

zzzadig said...

We vary on method and ingredients just a little, but no matter.....yum. In my rabbit or duck liver pate I use brandy and clove instead of mace and sherry and seal the top with duck fat or bacon fat. Try some rehydrated shiitake in there somewhere too, it adds a nice black speck. Don't matter, you done flung a cravin on me...