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Chicken liver mousse recipe

Chicken liver mousse recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken

A splash of brandy makes this light and smooth mousse special enough for a dinner party first course. Poaching the chicken livers with vegetables and herbs, instead of frying them, gives them lots of flavour, and fromage frais adds the richness that would traditionally be added by butter, but without the saturated fat.

11 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 250 g (9 oz) chicken livers, well trimmed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 600 ml (1 pint) vegetable stock or water
  • several sprigs of parsley
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1–1½ tbsp fromage frais
  • 2 tsp garlic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp brandy or Calvados, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp pink or green peppercorns in brine, drained and patted dry
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

MethodPrep:4hr10min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:4hr25min

  1. Place the chicken livers, onion and garlic in a saucepan and add stock or water to cover. Tie the parsley, thyme and bay leaf into a bouquet garni and add to the pan. Slowly bring to the boil, skimming the surface as necessary, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5–8 minutes or until the livers are cooked through but still slightly pink in the centre when you cut into one.
  2. Drain, and discard the bouquet garni. Tip the livers, onions and garlic into a food processor. Add 1 tbsp of the fromage frais, the vinegar and brandy, and process until smooth, adding the remaining 1/2 tbsp fromage frais if it is necessary for a lighter texture. Season to taste, then stir in the peppercorns. Alternatively, tip the livers, onions and garlic into a bowl and mash with a fork to a slightly coarse paste. Add the fromage frais, vinegar and brandy and mix well, then season and stir in the peppercorns.
  3. Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl, or individual ramekins, and smooth the top. Sprinkle with a layer of finely chopped parsley. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  4. Before serving, allow the mousse to return to room temperature. Serve with slices of hot toast.

Some more ideas

Replace the brandy with orange juice and add the finely grated zest of ½ orange. * If you can't find pink or green peppercorns, substitute finely chopped drained capers. * For a smooth mousse, made without a food processor, omit the onion, and sieve the cooked livers and garlic. Add 2 spring onions, finely chopped, with the peppercorns. * For a less rich mousse to serve 6, omit the brandy and add 100 g (3½ oz) drained canned cannellini beans, rinsed and dried, to the food processor with ½ tbsp finely chopped fresh sage. This mousse is excellent on toasted slices of country-style bread, or spread on slices of baguette and then topped with sliced gherkins. * Vary the herbs – chopped fresh chives, tarragon and mint all go well with chicken liver mousse.

Plus points

Chicken livers are one of the richest sources of iron – each serving of this mousse provides more than half of the recommended daily intake. * Many traditional recipes for chicken liver mousse and pâté seal the surface with a layer of melted or clarified butter for storage. In this version the fat is replaced by the chopped fresh herbs.

Each serving provides

A, B2, B6, B12, folate, iron, C, copper, zinc, B1, niacin

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

This is really easy, tasty and low fat... I've been looking for a decent, healthy chicken liver pate recipe, and this one is so good. I use fat free fromage fais and omit the brandy, purely because my diet is limited, but the taste is amazing!-16 Jun 2013

Chicken Liver Mousse

Chicken liver mousse is a classic of the French kitchen that has been adopted across the world. Why? Because it is quick to make and utterly delicious to eat. For a pre-dinner snack or as canapés at the grandest party, this simple pâté can excel in any situation.

The clue to the lightness and creaminess of this pâté is in the name. This is a mousse, not a coarse pâté made from meat and offal, notr is it a terrine which endures long, slow cooking for a wholesome, chunky pâté (again using both meat and sometimes offal and nearly always wrapped in bacon or Pancetta to prevent it becoming dry).

It takes moments to assemble, then some time for chilling, but none of it takes much effort and you are rewarded with a delicious, light, creamy mousse, perfect for spreading on warm toast, your favorite crackers, or onto a sliver of sourdough.

Chicken liver mousse

The Burgundians have it all figured out. Wine is meant to be drunk with food. And so when glasses of Burgundy are poured, even for a tasting, the hors d’oeuvres are never far behind.

That’s why they invented the gougere.

It looks like a tiny, golden dinner roll. Its delicate crust offers a little resistance to the tooth, and the inside is soft and melty -- as the French say, moelleux. Served warm, it’s light and rich at the same time, with the soft flavor of cheese and butter and eggs. There’s nothing better with a glass of Pinot. Or Beaujolais. Or, well, any wine, really. Then you want another. And another.

Burgundy’s perfect savory tidbits are actually light-handed cheese puffs, made from pate a choux (cream-puff paste) enriched with Gruyere cheese that’s piped or spooned onto a baking sheet and baked until golden. Though they’re terribly sophisticated, they’re easy to make.

In Paris, gougeres have been served at Taillevent, the renowned Michelin three-star restaurant, for as long as anyone can remember. Lightly flavored with nutmeg these days, they appear at the start of the meal, to accompany the aperitif. Stateside, at Artisanal, chef Terrance Brennan’s cheese-lovers’ restaurant in New York, they appear as an appetizer, sprinkled with rock salt. Thomas Keller has been known to offer them as an amuse bouche at the French Laundry in Napa.

A friend just back from Paris reports that the gougere is the “amuse of the moment.” Chefs are riffing on the classic, he says, flavoring it with anything from leeks to celery root to ham to foie gras.

Here’s the good news: gougeres are not only easy to make, they’re also foolproof. You just boil water, add butter and flour, stir it up, beat in eggs one at a time, and stir in some grated cheese. Drop them by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and pop them into the oven. You can even make them ahead and freeze them. Three minutes in the oven and they’re as good as new.

At least once, make classic gougeres. You’ll be amazed at how they please a crowd. They’re great finger food at wine or cocktail parties, or to serve in baskets as guests are sitting down at a dinner party.

Then you’ll want to riff. You can flavor them with almost anything that sounds good: chopped fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary, chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes or sun-dried tomato paste, wild mushrooms, finely chopped vegetables, prosciutto, cheeses other than Gruyere -- or combinations. Just stir the flavoring into the paste as you add the grated cheese.

But we didn’t stop there. Thinking about cream puffs (gougeres’ cheeseless cousins), we decided to try filling them. We whipped up a simple chicken liver mousse, flavored it with a touch of Cognac, filled a pastry bag and piped it right into the middle of each puff.

We poured a glass of Pinot. We tasted the gougeres. We’ve never been happier.

Chicken Liver Mousse

adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
makes about 2 cups

I served my mousse with cornichons, grainy mustard, pickled cherries , fennel and assorted crackers.

2 c. (about 1 lb) chicken livers
2 tbsp. minced shallots
2 tbsp. butter
1/3 c. cognac
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chopped, fresh thyme
1/2 c. melted unsalted butter
Kosher salt and pepper

Remove any greenish or blackish spots from the livers then cut into 1/2″ pieces.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a sauté pan until foam has subsided. Sauté livers with the shallots in butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until the livers are just stiffened, but still rosy inside. Remove any liquid then scrape into the blender jar.
Pour the cognac into the pan and boil it down rapidly until it has reduced to 3 tablespoons. Scrape it into the blender jar.
Add the cream and seasonings to the blender jar. Cover and blend at top speed for several seconds until the liver is a smooth paste.
Add the melted butter and blend several seconds more. Adjust seasoning.
Push the mousse through a fine sieve to remove any unwanted little bits.
Pack into the bowl or jar and chill for 2 to 3 hours.

Cognac Aspic
adapted from Smith & Ratliff

1/2 c. water, separated
1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. dry vermouth
2 tsp. cognac

Place 1/4 c. of cool water in a ramekin, sprinkle unflavored gelatin and let it stand for 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan heat vermouth and sugar over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Heat the remaining ¼ cup of water and add to softened gelatin. Stir to dissolve. Add the gelatin mixture to the warm wine mixture and mix thoroughly.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add cognac. Let the warm mixture stand until it almost reaches room temperature.
Once it has cooled, pour over chilled mousse. Return the mousse to the fridge and chill until the gelée has set, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
If you wish to garnish the mousse with fresh herbs or herb blossoms gently press them into the mousse before topping with the aspic.

To learn more about Julia’s life read the new biography Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Chicken Liver Mousse

Not everyone is a fan of the liver. I, for one love the flavor of liver but don’t love the texture or look of it, until it is mixed with other delicious stuff. So this is a GREAT way to use the livers that you are pulling out of all these chickens you are using for making chicken broth!

chicken liver mousse on toast

(You can also cook it and grind it up and add to your dogs food for an extra treat…lucky dogs!)

This recipe makes roughly 3 cups of liver mousse which should go far spread on 3 long sliced french baguettes for appetizers. I would say it easily serves 20 as an appetizer.


  • 1 lb chicken livers
  • 1 stick + 2 tbsp butter softened.
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1tsp truffle oil or truffle salt (or fresh shaved truffle if you’re REALLY fancy)
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 shallot diced


In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter. season the livers with salt and pepper and add to pan – cooking over high heat until browned. Transfer to a plate.

In same pan, melt 2 tbsp butter, red pepper flakes, garlic, shallot, thyme sprigs and red onion. Stir until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Discard thyme.

Add chicken broth and stir until slightly reduced and thickened. Add livers back into the pan and allow to simmer about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. In your food processor (mine is cuisinart), puree livers and butter until smooth. Add cream slowly while processing until silky in texture.

Strain through a fine sieve or tamis into a bowl. This last step makes the mousse very light and smooth.

Chill in a bowl – then spread on french bread toasts and top with shallot jam or cherry cinnamon reduction.

Chicken liver ­mousse recipe

A t the restaurant this mousse is flavoured with foie gras. But here we offer a streamlined version using only chicken liver. With or without the deluxe inclusion, it's a fine plated appetizer or hors d'oeuvre.

280g unsalted butter, melted
450g chicken livers
1 large egg
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of quatre-épices (see note below)
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons Cognac
1 baguette, sliced and toasted, for serving

Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2.

Using 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and a pastry brush, thoroughly coat the inside of six 125ml ramekins.

Place the chicken livers in a blender. Add the egg, salt, quatre-épices powder, white pepper and Cognac. Process until smoothly combined, about 20 seconds. With the blender still running, add the remaining melted butter and continue blending for 15 ­seconds.

Pour the mousse mixture into the prepared ramekins until three-quarters full. Place the ramekins in a baking dish and fill the dish with warm water to half the height of the ramekins. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the mousse is firm to the touch.

Let the ramekins cool, and then refrigerate until needed. Run a warm knife around the inner edge of each ramekin, cover with a plate and then invert. Serve chilled, with the toasted baguette.

Foie gras mousse

It's difficult to buy a small amount of foie gras—the liver is generally sold in whole lobes. A few tablespoons of store­bought foie gras mousse - about 85g - can provide the suggestion of that lush flavour without the expense. Add this mousse to the livers and other ingredients prior to combining them in a blender.


Quatre-épices, or four-spice powder, is a blend of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice, used most often to flavour terrines. Make your own in a spice grinder or buy it pre-packaged.

This recipe is taken from The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson (Absolute Press £25)

Recipe Summary

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 red onion, minced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 1/2 pound chicken livers, rinsed and trimmed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup Marsala
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Raspberry Jelly
  • Simple Crostini, for serving
  • Assorted Pickles, for serving

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high until foamy. Add onion, garlic, and sage cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add chicken livers, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Add Marsala and bring to a boil cook 30 seconds, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until livers are just cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Transfer livers with pan juices, remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and cream to a food processor. Puree until silky, about 2 minutes. Pass mousse through a sieve to remove any lumps. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 1 1/2-cup ramekin or bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Remove mousse from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Just before serving, spoon jelly over top. Serve, with crostini and pickles.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh chicken livers (see Note), patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
  • 1 pound onions (3-4 medium), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ⅓ cup brandy
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Heat oil in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken livers and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook until beginning to brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over using tongs and sprinkle with another 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and pinch of nutmeg. Cook until the livers are firm to the touch and pink on the inside when cut into, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl with the tongs (leave any remaining oil in the pan), cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, add onions, shallots and garlic to the pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browning and beginning to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in apple, brandy, sage and thyme and scrape up any browned bits. Cover and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and the apple is beginning to break down, 6 to 8 minutes more. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Spoon the cooled livers and any juices into a food processor pulse several times until the livers are coarsely chopped (individual pieces should be about 1/4 inch). Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Add the onion mixture to the food processor and pulse to coarsely chop until it resembles cooked oatmeal. Transfer to the bowl and stir the liver and onions to form a lumpy, homogenous paste. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, or more to taste. Spoon the liver mousse into a deep bowl just large enough to hold it. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Note: Look for fresh chicken livers that have not been previously frozen. Previously frozen livers exude more liquid when cooking so they don't brown properly, which results in watery, less pleasant texture for the mousse.

Chicken liver mousse

With all the chattering about the return of foie gras to California menus, you might be tempted to think that we’ve become a state of liver lovers.

You might think that, at least, until you set out to buy some chicken livers at the supermarket. Here’s a hint: If you can find them at all, they’ll probably be in the freezer section. Demand is so low that most markets long ago gave up on offering them fresh.

But if you truly appreciate that iron bite flavor of foie gras, and not just the buttery texture or the consumption of a conspicuous luxury, you’ll find that in abundance in chicken livers.

Indeed, chef Michel Richard (“Happy in the Kitchen”) makes an utterly delicious foie gras analogue by pureeing a pound of chicken livers with two sticks of butter (you’ll find the recipe under “Faux Gras” in our California Cookbook at

The upside of our under appreciation of chicken livers is that they are really inexpensive. At my neighborhood market, I paid $1.29 a pound. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any other meat product priced lower than that.

This is not to suggest that chicken livers’ appeal is only to the cheap. Despite the fact that liver seems to be one of the few foods we’re still allowed to hate without criticism, chicken livers can be delicious, even though I do find that with their rich flavor they’re best appreciated in smaller portions.

But a couple of them, dusted with orange zest, wrapped in prosciutto, skewered on rosemary branches and quickly fried? Call it Tuscan rumaki if you want I’ll have seconds.

And don’t even get me started on Richard Olney’s old-school chicken liver mousse from “Simple French Food.” It’s little more than chicken livers blended with milk and eggs and baked until set -- ridiculously luxurious for something so simple. A slice served with a tart salad of bitter greens makes a perfect light dinner.

Or saute them with pancetta and browned onions and chop them coarsely for a crostini topping as they do at AOC and Mozza. What a satisfying appetizer with a glass of wine on a cool evening.

There are a couple of tricks to cooking chicken livers. The most important, probably, is being careful not to overcook them. Sear them in a very hot pan for only a minute or two per side.

Chicken livers should be set but still rosy pink inside. Served this way, they are silky with a complex flavor. Cook them even a little too long and the texture becomes chalky and the taste more one-note bitter.

It also helps to clean them well. Older books tell you to watch for dark green spots (bile, very bitter), but in years of cooking chicken livers I don’t think I’ve ever seen this. If you do, cut it away usually, though, you’ll just need to trim the exterior fat and any stringy connective tissue.

Another oft-repeated piece of advice is to soak chicken livers in milk before cooking them, but I’ve never read why. Curious, I sauteed a couple of unsoaked livers at the same time as ones that had been immersed in milk. I found the soaked livers seemed to have a slightly fuller, rounder flavor, so I’ll keep doing that. (If you’re starting with frozen livers, it’s a simple enough matter to defrost them in a bowl of milk.)

Are chicken livers the next foie gras? It’s unlikely, but they do have an allure all their own. And, at $1.29 a pound instead of $50 to $60 (plus shipping), that’s not chopped liver.

Simple Chicken Liver Mousse

This is a very simple recipe for chicken liver mousse that tastes just as good as the stuff you get at fancy restaurants. The ingredient list is short and the hands-on cooking time is no more than 15 to 20 minutes. If you are entertaining guests, this makes a very impressive snack when served with grilled (or toasted) bread and pickles.

Many recipes for chicken liver mousse can get quite complicated. They often involve advanced cooking techniques and special ingredients. While these recipes can yield great results, I think this method is just as delicious. This is the only way I make chicken liver mousse at home.

The method is quite simple. Chicken livers are seasoned with black pepper and seared in brown butter. Shallots and rosemary are then added to the pan and sauteed with the livers. The pan is deglazed with some imperial stout and then everything is transferred to a blender along with some cold butter and salt. Everything is blended together and the mousse is allowed to cool overnight. Done.

While I really like this combination of flavors, you could substitute the imperial stout for any type of alcohol you like. Bourbon, port, cognac….. all would work well in this recipe. The rosemary could also be substituted for something like thyme, but I really like the way the rosemary works in this recipe.

I used Kentucky Breakfast Stout in this recipe but any other Imperial stout would work well. Bourbon, port, or cognac would also be delicious.

This recipe yields about 3 cups of chicken liver mousse and will easily serve 10-12 people. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if necessary. The mousse will need to cool down all the way in the refrigerator before serving so I suggest making this mousse the day before eating.


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