Smooth and Creamy Chicken Liver Pate

Super rich and creamy chicken liver pate.

Super rich and creamy chicken liver pate.

I haven’t blogged for so long that I forgot my password.  And truth be told I originally wrote this back in September of 2012 but am just now getting around to adding a picture.  This is my favorite pate.  I had a pate at a great restaurant and I really liked it.  It was a little different than what I’ve had before and it got me playing in the kitchen with it.  I have made this so many times now and this is the first time I have written the recipe down.  This is not for those with a fat phobia.  It has a stick and a half of butter in it.  I’m telling you that I alone can polish off a pound of chicken livers in a couple days all by myself and you should know that I don’t like liver.  I guess I should say I didn’t like liver because I love this.

Here is what you will need.

1 cup cream sherry

1 small onion finely chopped

10 whole allspice berries (are these things berries?)

5 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

10 whole black peppercorns

fresh nutmeg (just a few grates over the microplane)

2 bay leaves

1 – 1.25 lb of chicken livers (the worst part of this recipe is removing all the connective tissue)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 stick of salted butter

salt to taste

approximately 4 -6 T melted butter (I like to use Kerrygold pastured butter for this part because it tastes better and the color is so rich.)

Serve with plain rice crackers and a fruit only (no sugar) jam or jelly

In a large saucepan add the sherry, onion, cinnamon stick, allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves and cloves.  Simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes while you clean the livers.  Then add the livers and ground cinnamon and grated nutmeg.  Cook about another ten minutes, covered, over medium high heat until the livers are just cooked through.  Don’t overcook them as it makes them tough.  By the time they are cooked through most of the liquid as reduced.  Remove from heat.  Here comes the tedious part.  You have to go through and remove all the allspice, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and the cinnamon stick.  This is why its a good idea to count them out before you add them so that you can make sure you get them all out.  Add the livers to a food processor or Vitamix.  Turn it on and add a stick of cold butter one tablespoon at a time while it is running.  Turn it off intermittently to scrape down the sides.  Let it run for at least 5 minutes depending on how effective your food processor is.  It won’t take that long if you are doing it in a Vitamix.  Add salt to taste.  It should end up being completely smooth.  Then pour the pate into three or four ramekins.  Smooth the tops and cover with the remaining melted butter.  This will seal it and it will keep in the fridge for a week but I can tell you that it won’t last that long.  (Incidentally it also freezes well.  Defrost it in the fridge.)  Let it set in the fridge overnight covered with plastic wrap.  My favorite way to have this is in big wedges on a plain rice cracker topped with a tiny dot of jam or jelly.

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Cabbage Rolls – Paleo Approved

Paleo Style Cabbage Rolls

You simply have to try this.  It is a teeny bit time consuming but worth every minute.  The cabbage rolls I remember – and it’s been a really long time – were stuffed with white rice and ground beef.  These cabbage rolls are stuffed with ground beef and cauliflower rice so are therefore low carb, GAPS legal and paleo approved.  I did all the work the night before.  I made marinara from scratch, as always.  I suppose you could buy a jar or two if you are short on time but the sauce is great and has no weird ingredients so I think it is worth the effort.  I stuffed the cabbage rolls, put them in my crock pot, covered them and put them in the fridge overnight.  In the morning all I did was cover the rolls with the marinara and set the temperature to low.  I came home to an unbelievable aroma and a dinner ready to be devoured.

Paleo Cabbage Rolls

1 large head of green cabbage

Remove core and steam entire, intact head of cabbage in 1-2 inches of water for approximately 5-8 minutes.  Set the cabbage in the water core down.  There is a fine line between over cooking the leaves and leaving them still too stiff to be pliable.  It is probably easiest to steam for 5 minutes, allow to cool enough so that you can peel off the outer leaves and then stem for another couple of minutes to soften the inner leaves.  When you have the leaves soft but not too cooked and separated, set them aside.

Marinara

2 T olive oil

1 large onion chopped

6-7 cloves of garlic, minced

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 can tomato paste (6 oz)

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) or 2 cups chopped fresh

1 tsp dried basil

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 cups stock/bone broth, preferably homemade (I happen to use pork because that’s what I  grabbed out of the freezer. Beef or chicken or whatever would work too)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 tsp red wine vinegar/or fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat large saute pan and add olive oil.  Add onion, celery, garlic and carrots.  Instead of hand chopping these I just put them all in the food processor using the S blade and made it into a fine meal consistency.  It doesn’t really matter because you are going to blend the final sauce anyway.  Saute until veggies are soft, approximately 10 minutes.  Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and stock.  Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes then remove from heat.  Add red wine vinegar/lemon juice.  Start mixing the filling for the cabbage rolls now (See next section).  When you are done making the filling and the marinara has cooled a bit, use a stick/immersion blender or even food processor to blend your sauce to a smoother marinara.

Filling

1 large finely chopped onion

2 T bacon grease or other fat of choice

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp Italian seasoning (this should be only herbs with no fillers or preservatives)

1 1/2 lbs of ground beef (I used grass-fed)

1/2 large head of cauliflower, grated in food processor (I guess this could be done with a box grater but I value my knuckles and time)

1 egg

2 tsp sea salt

black pepper, however much you like

Saute onion and garlic in saute pan with fat.  Cook until onions are starting to brown and are soft.  In a large bowl combine raw beef, onions and garlic with remaining ingredients.  Mix well.   Using your hands is easiest.

Assembly

Fill each cabbage leaf with about 1/4 cup of filling.  Roll into cylinders and tuck flat edges under.  Some of my smaller leaves were still a little stiff (this is why I think the steaming should be done in two steps) so the edges were not tucked.  It didn’t matter.  I just wedged the looser ones in between the tighter ones.  I did all of this the night before and placed them in my crock pot, covered them and put them in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, well mid morning, I pulled them out and covered the rolls with all the sauce.  I set the crock pot to low and left the house.  I came home to dinner ready and an absolutely amazing smell.

Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Liver Pate

Ok, I’ve been MIA forever and now I come back with this?! I suspect that I will lose several followers. Sorry. (Hi!! to all my new ones!)  I must tell you though that I have been firmly in the “I hate liver” camp my whole life. I understand completely if you just click on by. I get it. I do. I have been reading over and over in so many places that liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. (Here is some info on calves liver.) And it’s cheap. For those reasons alone I have been making an effort to try liver again. My first try was beef liver. I prepped it, soaked it, fried it with bacon and onions. Still, it was liver. It was bad. I took one bite and that was the end of it. I just couldn’t get it down. Hats off to those of you who can. The taste was almost tolerable but it was that texture. Ugh! I had given up when I read that some people who hate beef liver like chicken liver. So maybe it was worth trying. I made chicken liver pate. Most, if not all, of the recipes I came across had butter in it. Mine had to be dairy free. The first time I made it I was pleased. I actually liked it.  I’ve been a closet pate maker and consumer for the past 6 months. Now I am stepping out of the closet and sharing with you my recipe. I’ve tweaked and fine tuned it. And I must say, it is pretty damn amazing, despite the unappetizing picture! Really. It is. I promise. Please try it. You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Liver Pate

2 T bacon fat
1 lb organic chicken livers, trimmed (yes, this part I hate)
1/2 large onion, chopped
3/4 tsp sea salt (I like salty things. If you don’t, scale this back a bit.)
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground sage
 1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup cream sherry 
1 very fresh organic egg (optional)

In a large saute pan heat bacon fat. (You do save your bacon fat don’t you?) Add chopped onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken livers, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, bay and cinnamon. Saute on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes until onions are well cooked. Add the cream sherry and increase heat to medium high. Simmer until nearly all liquid has reduced. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and process until pate is very smooth. If you like a softer more spreadable pate like I do add a very fresh egg and process again until well blended. If you have concerns about raw eggs or can’t get anything but a store egg just skip it.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.  Serve cold with celery sticks or my Grain Free Rosemary Almond Flax Crackers.

This post was entered in Monday Mania over at The Healthy Home Economist 8/1/11.

Gluten Free Chicken Fingers – 2 Ways – Low carb or Not

Gluten Free Chicken Fingers

Low Carb Chicken Fingers

Have you seen “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”?  I watched the first couple of episodes.  In it I found out that chicken nuggets are apparently a staple for American kids.  Kids who were eating them for lunch at school talked about eating them the night before for dinner.  (Pizza and hamburgers were other ones that are  staples and I will get to my recipes for those soon.)  That show left me, once again, feeling incredibly grateful for Celiac Disease.   Why grateful, you may wonder?  I’m grateful because my kids will never eat those things at school.  They are a nutritional nightmare and my kids have a medical reason to never even get near them.  On Jamie’s show one of the lunch ladies kept referring to the list of ingredients and saying “chicken, it’s the first thing on the label,” or for the potato pearls they use to make some sort of glue that they serve under the rouse of mashed potatoes;  “potatoes, the number one ingredient.”  She said this like as if all those other things on the label after the first ingredient are just other foods and don’t really matter.  They are not just other foods that don’t matter.  Most of them are not food at all.  In so many processed foods there is white flour, which even if we could eat that we wouldn’t because it is really nothing more than sugar, metabolically speaking.  It offers no nutrition.  It offers carbohydrate aka sugar.  There are stabilizers, preservatives, fillers, coloring, starches, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, anti foaming agents and hydrogenated oils (In case you didn’t know hydrogenated means trans fats.  Reasearch has proven that trans fats cause cancer and heart disease.)  Here is a link to McDonald’s web site that lists every ingredient in all of their food.  The McNuggets are on the fifth page.  I chose to illustrate my point using McDonald’s nuggets because years ago they were my favorite.  I loved those things.  Prior to Celiac Disease my daughters loved them too.  Who doesn’t?  Look at those ingredients.  Forty some ingredients in there.  Mmmmmm.  Makes you want to run straight over to your nearest Mickey D’s (which is likely within a mile of where ever you are) doesn’t it.  Ugh.  Gross.  I make chicken fingers here at home regularly.  It is a favorite for all of us.  I use a couple fewer ingredients.  Additionally I cook them in coconut oil so we are getting a good fat to go along with it.  It is really pretty quick and they are even good warmed up.  Sometimes I will make dips to go with them but mayo is the kids favorite.  (Making my own mayo with coconut oil is on my to do list.)  I make them 2 ways and both are well liked here.  One is really low carb, one is not.          

Chicken Fingers – 2 Ways – Low Carb or Not         

1 package raw chicken tenders (1-2 lbs)         

3 eggs         

1/4 cup whole flax seed ground up into a meal         

1/4 cup Kim’s All Purpose GF Flour    (to make this recipe low carb omit the flour and double the flax meal)         

2 tsp kosher salt or to taste         

pepper to taste         

1/4 tsp garlic powder         

1/2 tsp dried oregano         

1/2 tsp mild chili powder         

Coconut oil for frying         

Heat a generous amount of coconut oil (if you use expeller pressed it doesn’t taste like coconut) in a large frying pan over medium heat.  In medium bowl beat eggs.  In second bowl or pie plate combine remaining ingredients and mix until combined.   With each chicken tender coat in egg first and then coat evenly with flour/flax seed mix.  Fry until lightly browned on both sides and serve hot.  If you are doing this the low carb way, omit the gf flour and lower your heat to medium low.  The flax seeds brown pretty quickly so it is easy to burn.  I like to serve these with “fries”.  I cut up carrots, sweet potato and white potatoes into “fries”.  I coat with, yes, more coconut oil, salt and pepper or whatever sounds good to me at the moment.  Bake them at 425 for 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through and are crispy at the edges.  And there you have it, chicken fingers and fries, gluten free, dairy free, low carb (or not), REAL FOOD.        

 
 

     

 

   

           

          

Moroccan Chicken

There are a few recipes that I make over and over. Honestly, for chicken there aren’t very many of them. We, unfortunately, prefer red meat but that is another story. This is a recipe that I found on the Food Network. We love this and have it frequently. It is easy to make but takes a little preplanning for the marinating. It is so worth it. I make extra so that we can have left overs. I guess traditionally this would be served over couscous but we do brown basmati rice. It smells so good while it is cooking that it is the longest hour ever waiting for it to be done. Every time I have served it to others it gets rave reviews. I have posted the recipe with all the changes that I make. It is possible that I am unable to follow a recipe exactly. I can’t remember the last time I did that. This would also be good served with some teff flat bread which I am now making regularly. I am so happy to have discovered teff. It is my favorite flour to work with. Anyway, here is the recipe. Please try it. You won’t be disappointed

Moroccan Chicken

8 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, zested and juiced (about 4 to 6 tablespoons juice)
10-12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 4 pounds)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 large onion, cut into smallish wedges
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
3 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
3 medium plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup dried pitted prunes (about 10-15)
1/2 cup black olives, pitted

1/2 cup green olives
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper



Spice Mixture:
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

In a medium glass bowl, combine the spice mixture, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the chicken thighs on both sides in 3 tablespoons olive oil, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate. With the heat on medium, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, and saute the onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Place the chicken thighs on top of the onions and add any accumulated juices from the plate. Arrange the zucchini and yellow squash and tomato quarters on top of the chicken and tuck in the prunes and olives. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken broth. Cover and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Let cook undisturbed 1hr, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken cooked through.

Serve over brown basmati rice.