"Every good chicken has a good liver," says Peter Hoffman. "Sometimes I eat the liver myself as the cook's reward, and sometimes I let a bunch accumulate in the freezer until I have enough to make this recipe." His beautifully silky puree is accented with sweet sautéed apples, smoky bacon and a splash of brandy, then served on crunchy toasts. For a healthier version, omit the 4 tablespoons of chilled butter in Step 4.
Plus: F&W's Ultimate Appetizer Cooking Guide
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed and patted dry
2 ounces thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1-by-1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 Golden Delicious apple—peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup brandy
Salt and freshly ground pepper
24 baguette slices, toasted
Small sage leaves, for garnish
How to Make It
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil until foaming. Add the chicken livers and cook over high heat, turning once or twice, until browned all over, about 3 minutes. Transfer the livers to a small bowl.
Add the bacon to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the apple, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until very soft and just beginning to break down, about 10 minutes longer. Add the brandy to the skillet and carefully ignite with a long match; let the alcohol burn off.
Add 1/4 cup of the apple mixture to the bacon. Add the remaining apple mixture to a blender along with the chicken livers and blend until smooth. With the machine on, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and puree until creamy. Pass the chicken liver mousse through a fine strainer into a bowl (omit this step for a chunkier mousse). Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Spread the chicken liver mousse on the baguette toasts. Garnish with a little of the bacon-apple mixture and the sage leaves and serve at once.
The mousse and apple-bacon garnish can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before serving.
One of the best partners for creamy chicken livers is, surprisingly, German Rieslingits high acidity cuts through the richness, and its touch of sweetness is a nice contrast to the liver's earthiness (much in the way that Sauternes goes well with foie gras).
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