© John Kernick
Active Time
35 MIN
Total Time
2 HR
Serves : 10 to 12 servings

A good recipe for chicken-liver mousse is critical, says Shawn McClain, "because when a recipe's bad, it's really bad." His version is supremely silky and light, with a lovely hint of apple from Calvados. He serves the mousse with pickled red onion and toasted baguette slices alongside, so guests can assemble their own crostini. Slideshow: Thanksgiving Appetizers

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 300°. Butter four 1-cup ramekins. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Add the chicken livers to the skillet, season with salt and white pepper and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate.

Step 2    

Add the onion, apple and allspice to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and apple are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the Calvados and carefully ignite it with a long match. When the flames subside, scrape the apple-onion mixture into a blender and let cool to room temperature.

Step 3    

Add the bacon and chicken livers to the onion-and-apple mixture in the blender, along with the half-and-half, egg yolks and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Blend until very smooth. Pass the mixture through a coarse sieve into a large glass measuring cup. Pour into the prepared ramekins and transfer to a small roasting pan. Add enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins, cover loosely with foil and bake the chicken-liver mousse for about 1 1/2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the mousse registers 155°. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool to room temperature.

Step 4    

Cover and refrigerate the ramekins until the mousse is chilled, preferably overnight. Serve with toasted baguette slices and Pickled Red Onion.

Suggested Pairing

Serve Shawn McClain's Sparkling Pomegranate Punch. For a wine alternative, pour a dry, sparkling California rosé.

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