I’m generally not a huge fan of liver, but when someone hands you a package of liver from one of their pigs, which you know was a happy, well-taken-care-of pig of great quality, you make sure to cook with it. I find myself hoping that if I keep trying it, I’ll eventually like it, so I decided to try my hand at pâté.
I found a recipe in my parents’ copy of The River Cottage Cookbook for a very straightforward-sounding country pâté, really just a liver-based meatloaf. We invited some liver-loving friends over to dinner, and a few days ahead of time I got out the meat grinder and put it together.
I measured out two pounds of the pork liver and sliced it, then sliced a pound of pork belly that’s been sitting ignored in our deep freeze for quite a long time.
I ran the liver and pork belly through my KitchenAid grinder attachment, alternating with pieces of onion. I found out the hard way that when you force something soft like liver through a meat grinder, it spurts straight out and coats you with a fine spray of liver. The dog liked this very much. Actually, the dog liked everything about this process, especially the bits of leftover liver that I cooked up for her.
The meat and onion mixture then got combined with breadcrumbs, a glass of port, some chopped fresh sage from the garden, and a bit of nutmeg.
I poured it into loaf pans, covered with foil, and baked it in a water bath. I could very easily have put the whole batch in one pan, this made rather shallow pâté. I let it sit in the fridge overnight before I tried unmolding it – one came out nicely, but the other one stuck. I guess this is why the recipe suggested lining the pan with bacon, which I failed to do.
We served the pâté, chilled, a couple of nights later, with good bread and lots of cornichons. Our friends liked it, but it was too strongly liver-flavored for me – I appreciated a small amount spread on bread, but when I tried eating a big slab of it on a sandwich the next day it was too much for me, even covered with sliced cornichons. I guess I’m just not a liver girl. Still, I would make this again if I had another pork liver and had company coming.
Any liver fans out there? What would you do with a whole pork liver?