Brandy Chicken Liver Pâté

I still have clear memories of lunch last month at a French bistro in San Francisco.  It was a very beautiful day in January and we were sitting outside at Zazie in Cole Valley.  I wasn’t feeling like breakfast food which is what they are known for, so I ordered the pâté sandwich which was described as sinful brandy chicken liver pâté and greens on grilled levain.  The only sandwiches I have eaten with pâté are the Vietnamese sandwiches, but the description sounded so wonderful I had to try it.  I was so glad I did as this was so delightful and decadent.  The experience made me quickly look for a recipe for a chicken liver pâté.  I had found one and decided to make it for an appetizer for tonight’s Oscar party. 


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pound chicken livers
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • *optional butter to make a seal

Courtesy of, the recipe begins with melting a bar of unsalted butter in a skillet over low heat.  Mmmm…Butter!  Once melted, you throw in chopped onion and garlic and sauté for five minutes.  Then you add the chicken livers, marjoram, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and allspice and cook for about eight minutes.  The recipe calls to add bourbon, but I substituted with brandy since the original sandwich I ate was with brandy.  Remove from heat and transfer the mixture into a food processor.  Puree the mixture until smooth.  Transfer into ramekins or a terrine.

I followed the recipe and made the clarified butter seal.  I believe the reason you add this seal is to help keep the pâté lasting longer.  To make this, you melt some butter in a saucepan.  Once melted, remove from heat.  In a few minutes, take a spoon and remove the froth.  Pour the clarified butter onto the top of the pâté.  Refrigerate.  The butter seal will harden in about 30 minutes.  Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.  Serve with a baguette or crackers. 

This recipe is easy and delicious and was a winner at tonight’s viewing party.  I think I’ll be making a sandwich with my leftovers!