Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chicken Liver => Smoked Liver Pâté (plus ABTs)

I got several pounds of frozen chicken livers so I decided to try some smoked chicken liver pâté. I put some on the counter for a bit and then in the fridge overnight to thaw. Unfortunately in the morning I found that I had thawed some chicken hearts. :( I grabbed a bag (2 lb?) of frozen chicken livers and put them in warm water to quick thaw. By this time I had already started my fire so I was in a bit of a bind. Eventually I decided to put the partially frozen livers in a Corning Ware casserole in the smoker at as low a temperature as I could muster. After they were thawed and separated, I could raise the temperature.

Seasonings included a fairly large thinly sliced shallot. I forgot the garlic, but I think the shallot may be all I need. I also added three bay leaves and a sprinkle of dried thyme. Inspiration for this recipe came from Jacques Pépin. I modified it of course, using the chicken livers on hand, not so expensive brandy and not nearly so much butter.

Smoking will be done in the mini-WSM using briquettes and some hickory and a little mesquite. I figured the liver was strong flavored and should stand up to a strong smoke flavor.

Weather is a very pleasant 66° and sunny. Wind is light at 10 mph.

Fire started using the Minion method and left to burn about 10 minutes before putting the meat on. At that time I closed the bottom vent about 3/4. Temperature is monitored via a lid thermometer and the Maverick remote.

timetemp comment
meat on!
4:45215°/155°Tried to separate the meat. Still frozen so I put it in a larger casserole.
5:17222°/155°Separating again. All livers are thawed.
5:45262°/155°Stirred the livers up a bit to expose more to the smoke. There's a fair bit of liquid in there now which I'll leave there. It's bloody now but should look like cooked liver when the liver is done. Grate temp seems to be coming up nicely w/out any adjustment necessary.
6:09302°/180°Starting to look more done. Not cooking so evenly so I stirred them about a bit to even things out. I also note that the water in the bowl is gone but that's no big surprise since the temperature is climbing. (Water helps to keep the temperature down.)
6:25331°/190°Stirred again - almost done.
7:06328°/190°Looks done - I'm taking the liver off.

Next food on...

I pureed the livers with some brandy and butter and a little water until smooth. I'm sure I didn't use nearly as much butter as Pepin recommends, but that's too much for me anyway. I got nearly 4 C of pâté out of the process and it tastes good!

While I've got the smoker fired up, I'm going to make another batch of ABTs. I picked up some Jalapeños at a Mexican grocery (Rosita's? La Rosati's? Across from Menards in Bloomingdale at North Avenue and Bloomingdale Road.) I hope that this way I'll get hot jalapeños and not really mild ones like at Meijer in Owosso, MI. I'll use the Neufchâtel cheese that's been in the refrigerator for months? Years? Still tastes OK or I'd use the no-fat cream cheese I bought today. Again I'll mix in some shredded sharp cheddar and honey. Instead of onion flakes, I'll use chopped shallot. (Yes, I have extra shallots left over from making Salsa Verde over the weekend.) This time I have some Chile Ancho powder that I'll use to dust on the ABTs before cooking. I also have some pulled pork to chop and mix in the cheese spread. I did come up 4 ABTs short of having enough bacon to wrap all so those got some bacon bits (TVP) instead. The ABTs will go on the smoker when the liver is done.

7:10330°/190°ABTs on!
7:59302°/190°ABTs coming along nicely. maybe another half hour or so.
8:35310°/190°ABTs off!
ABTs came out good again. They're a little on the sweet side but that's not really a bad thing. The jalopies are hot and a little sprinkle of ancho chili is nice. The ones with the bacon bits were good too.

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