Laurent Tourondel, the executive chef and driving force behind the BLT group of restaurants in New York, says he loves cooking with Port. For his recipe for a warm paté of chicken livers spread atop toasted country bread, Tourondel points out: “The addition of the Port adds sweetness and balance. The key to cooking with it, however, is not to reduce it on too high heat because it can get scorched and ruin the flavor.”
From the Wine Enthusiast Pairings Book
Number of Servings
For the reduction
1 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup ruby Port
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
For the chicken livers
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed
1 tablespoon sea salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon pink salt (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons duck fat or extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons brandy or Cognac
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 fresh thyme sprigs
Fleur de sel
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
6 thick slices country bread, toasted, for serving
Cornichons, for serving
To make the reduction: Tie the bay leaf and 2 thyme sprigs with kitchen twine. In a small, heavy saucepan, bring the Port, herb bundle, shallot, and garlic to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook until the Port is reduced to the consistency of thick syrup. Remove the herb bundle. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.
To make the chicken livers: Season the livers with 1/2 tablespoon sea salt, some pink salt, if using, and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the duck fat or oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it ripples, add half the livers and brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until golden brown but still pink in center, about 1 minute more. Stir in 1 tablespoon each of chopped shallots and garlic; then pour in 1½ tablespoons brandy and heat, about 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the remaining livers, salt, shallots, garlic, and brandy.
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the browned livers and Port syrup and process until smooth. Blend in the butter, and season to taste with additional sea salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a terrine or serving bowl.
To serve, remove the leaves from the remaining thyme sprigs. Sprinkle the chicken liver pate with the thyme leaves and fleur de sel and drizzle with olive oil. Serve warm with toasted the country bread and cornichons.