Recipe of the Month: Chicken Liver Mousse

This velvety mousse paired with a vibrant and fragrant Riesling makes for a perfect addition to your summer picnic.


These jars of velvety charcuterie come from British Chef Brendan Collins, who helms L.A.’s new gastropub Waterloo & City in the up-and-coming Culver City neighborhood. This mousse can be a voluptuous appetizer or a distinctive handmade hostess gift, using classic Mason jars for a homey touch.

For the Chicken Liver Mousse

3 finely diced shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1/3 cup each Port, Madeira and Cognac
1 pound, 2 ounces chicken livers
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons pink curing salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 eggs
1 pound, 2 ounces butter (diced)
3½ ounces butter (melted)

To Make The Mousse

Preheat oven to 210˚F. Place shallots, garlic, herbs and alcohol in a saucepan and reduce over high heat until it looks syrupy, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Combine livers, salts and pepper with the reduction and place in a zipper-top storage bag. Crack eggs and place into another bag. Place diced butter in the third bag. Submerge bags in warm water until butter becomes liquid (but not separated); about 15 minutes.

Place eggs in a blender and blend for 1 minute. With blender still running, add livers and continue until smooth. Slow blender to add melted butter until thoroughly mixed.

Sterilize jars and place on an ovenproof sheet tray with 4-inch high walls, lined with a kitchen towel.

Pass mixture through a fine sieve, then ladle an equal amount (about 6 ounces) into each jar. Cover jars with plastic wrap. Pour hot water into sheet tray and place in preheated oven; cook 30–45 minutes or until mousse reaches 118˚F at its center.

Carefully remove plastic wrap as soon as jars are removed from oven. Do not allow water droplets to touch the mousse. Cool jars in refrigerator for about an hour, then top with the last of melted butter. Return to refrigerator for 24 hours. Makes 8 4-ounce jars.

Wine recommendation:

To contrast the creamy texture and intensify the liver flavor, look to the bright acidity and unobtrusive fragrance of a Riesling, like the Barnard Griffin Winery 2008 from Columbia Valley in Washington State.

Try this delicious recipe from Chef Collins:

Spice Lamb Bangers

Chef Collins updates this traditional British, made with carrot mash, mint sauce, salad and couscous, with bold spices and zesty greens.

For the sausage:
2 pounds lamb shoulder
2 ounces chicken thigh
8 ounces pork fat
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup red wine
2 tablespoons ice cold water
½ cup harissa paste
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
½ cup nonfat milk powder
5 feet hog casing

For the carrot mash:
1 pound carrots peeled and chopped
4  ounces butter
½ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For mint sauce:
3 ounces malt or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2  tablespoons mint leaves finely chopped

For the salad:
1 cup each freshly picked mint and cilantro leaves

For the couscous:
1 cup Allagash White Ale
½ cup water
1 cup instant couscous
2¼ cups each pitted dates, dried apricots, finely chopped
¼ cup each raisins, slivered almonds
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, cumin
½ bunch each cilantro and mint chopped
2  tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup each cucumber, red bell pepper diced
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste

To make the sausages:
Dice lamb shoulder, chicken and pork fat into ½-inch pieces. Combine remaining ingredients and mix. Marinate for 2-24 hours in refrigerator. An hour before you’re ready to grind, place sausage mix in freezer. Remove and grind mixture. Once ground, beat with a paddle for 45 seconds. Roll a small amount of mix into a ball, sauté until cooked, check seasoning and add salt to taste.
Place sausage attachment on mixer and stuff sausages casings with filling until they are 4-5 inch length. Twist the end of each sausage link clockwise and then counterclockwise to prevent sausage from bursting. Allow sausage links to rest for about 20 minutes prior to cutting individual links. Cook until sausage is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

To make the carrot mash:
Place all ingredients in pan and cover with a sheet of grease-proof paper. Boil on stovetop until all water has evaporated and carrots are tender, then purée in food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste. 

To make the mint sauce:
Place vinegar and sugar in small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat, cool slightly, then add chopped mint. Let sit for an hour. 

To make the couscous:  
Bring ale and water to a boil in a small pot and immediately remove from heat. Stir in couscous, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients except for lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add couscous to bowl and mix well using dinner fork. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

To finish:
Place a neat mound of couscous in the center of each plate, pile on a few sausages, then top with salad leaves drizzled in mint sauce. Leave remaining mint sauce on the table as guests will surely want more. Serves 4-8.

Wine Recommendation:

Casa Marguery Malbec 2009 from Mendoza, Argentina has a robust nose of dark fruits and an earthiness that matches the complexity of this dish. Further back on the palate a soft elegance soothes the complex spices.

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Reader Comments:
Jun 26, 2011 12:20 am
 Posted by  steto

This sound fantastic, but plastic wrap in the oven @ 210 degrees for 45 minutes? This sounds neither safe nor appetizing. Will it really work, and not melt into the food, or give off bad fumes?

Jun 28, 2011 08:52 am
 Posted by  JanetForman

Chef Collins responds:
Please tell the reader the process is completely safe; the wrap does not melt or give off any sort of odor or fumes. However if he/she still is not comfortable, aluminum foil will work just fine; it just has to be as air tight as they can possibly get it.

Jul 10, 2011 02:38 pm
 Posted by  lvogt

Do the eggs need to be lightly beaten before placing in bag or just add the eggs whole?

Jul 11, 2011 08:19 pm
 Posted by  JanetForman

Chef Collins responds:
Absolutely no need to beat the eggs; they will become well enough incorporated while being blended.

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