Marcia Kiesel's pâté makes an elegant holiday gift presented in a pretty porcelain ramekin with crackers or crispy wafers, like Margaret's Artisan Flatbread. The buttery, earthy pâté can be spread on crostini, stuffed into Cognac-poached prunes, or even shaped into small balls and deep-fried with sage leaves.
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2 sticks softened unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons melted
3 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 pounds chicken livers, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup dry Marsala
1/2 cup chicken stock
11/4 cups salted roasted pistachios, 1/2 cup chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
How to Make It
In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the softened butter. Add the shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken livers, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning a few times, until firm, about 4 minutes. Add the Marsala and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer, turning the livers a few times, until the livers are light pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the skillet mixture cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer 10 of the livers to a plate. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender and puree. Cut the remaining 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter into tablespoons. With the machine on, add the butter and blend until it is completely incorporated.
Scrape the puree into a large bowl. Cut the reserved 10 livers into 1/2-inch pieces and fold them in, along with the whole pistachios, parsley and thyme. Generously season the pâté with salt and pepper. Spoon the pâté into four 1 1/2-cup ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Pour 1 tablespoon of the melted butter over each pâté to seal it, then garnish with the chopped pistachios. Cover the ramekins and refrigerate until the butter is firm, about 20 minutes.
The pâté can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
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