Spiced Chicken Liver Pâté with Green Peppercorns
Pâté can be a polarizing delicacy. You either love it or hate it.
Today, I'm putting on my chef's coat to bring you my version of pâté, complete with a few secret flavor-boosting hacks like aromatic spices, a splash of apple brandy, and briny pickled peppercorns. This is one of the most nourishing recipes I have up my sleeve, and I've done my best to make it as sumptuous and delectable as possible.
Personally, I love pâté, but the traditional mousse-style pâtés I prefer are made with lots of butter and heavy cream. This version takes all the secret spices I love from those dairy-laden recipes, and flips it into a dairy-free version that tastes like something truly decadent, and yet, has the power to make you feel absolutely amazing. So if you're in the #hateit camp, stay with me, and consider giving this version a try, if nothing else, for your vitality and health.
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Do I Seriously Have to Eat Liver?!?!
Once you start exploring eating for your thyroid and autoimmune health, you're bound to hear nutritionists and other health experts extoll the virtues of (dun, dun, dunnn....) LIVER.
Eeeeeeeek [cue screams of disgust and gagging noises]!
First, we have to give up soda and donuts and pizza, and now we're supposed to eat liver?!
Here's why. When compared to regular meats like chicken breasts, steak, or pork chops, liver is anywhere from 10 to 100 times more nutrient-dense. It has been called nature's most potent superfood, and yes, in this case, it does live up to the hype.
I get it. It kinda skeeves me out too. The color and texture of raw liver can make even the most unsqueamish, squirm. My own childhood memories of mom's dreaded "liver and onions" makes me want to go hide under the bed until it's over. But when you're living with a chronic illness like hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's, which can drain our energy and make us more prone to nutrient deficiencies, you start to rethink the power and purpose of food. And if you can say one nice thing about liver it's that this is a food with power and purpose!
Contrary to popular belief, the liver does not store toxins. It filters them. What it does store are loads of thyroid-supporting nutrients.
One 3.5 ounce serving of liver contains:
- 3460% RDI of B12
- 1000% RDI of Vitamin A (in a highly-absorbable form)
- 250% RDI of Riboflavin (Vit B2)
- 80% RDI of Iron (in its most absorbable form)
- 65% RDI of folate (Vit B9)
- and so much more!!
Because it's so nutrient-dense, a little goes a long way, so a serving of this pate is enough to charge your batteries with all that goodness.
So, apply deep breaths, an open mind, and a dash of courage...and do yourself the favor of trying this highly-palatable way to eat your liver. Also, pay attention to how you feel afterward because this is superhero food.
- Pickled green peppercorns are like a cross between a caper and well, a peppercorn. They add a lovely briney bite, without too much heat. If you can't find them, don't worry, they're optional, but they are highly recommended.
- This uses a little bit of coconut cream for lusciousness, but no, it does not taste like coconut. For coconut cream, refrigerate a can of coconut milk for at least a few hours or overnight. Open and skim the firm, creamy part from the top. If you forgot to refrigerate, simply open the can without shaking, and do your best to take the white, creamy part from the top, rather than the clear liquid.
- For the smoothest pate, don't overcook the chicken livers. They should be brown on the outside and somewhat pink in the middle. Also, puree the pate thoroughly, until desired smoothness is reached.
- Sliced pears
- Kale chips
- Dehydrated beet or sweet potato chips
- Carrot or celery sticks
- Your favorite gluten-free or Paleo crackers or toast
Thyroid-healthy Recipe Highlights
- Liver is one of the most potent superfoods, with an extremely high nutrient to calorie ratio. It contains loads of nutrients in a highly-absorbable format. Many of these are key thyroid-supporting nutrients like B12 (3460% RDI) and other B vitamins, Vitamin A (1000% RDI), and Iron (80% RDI).
- Coconut products such as coconut milk contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals, in addition to healthy fats known as MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) or MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids). Consumption of these fats has been touted for various health benefits such as brain health, weight loss, and cholesterol balance. Coconut can also be a positive dietary substitution for refined carbs and sugar, which can diminish thyroid and overall health. Coconut milk does contain an incredibly high amount of fat (approx. 45g per can) – something to be mindful of for those watching their weight.
- Sea salt is a natural source of iodine as well as numerous other bioavailable trace minerals.
- Duck Fat isn’t a health food per se, but as a chef, I can tell you it is one of the best tasting animal fats there is. Although health claims once made in regards to duck fat have been contested, it is true that the composition of duck fat is 62% unsaturated fat and 33% saturated fat. Butter, in comparison, has 51% saturated fat.
Happy cooking, happy thriving, and enjoy the recipe (below)!
P.S. Need more thyroid-friendly recipe inspiration? I’ve got you covered. My Thyroid-friendly Everyday eCookbook features over 50 quick and easy, thyroid-friendly recipes your whole family will love. To take a peek at what’s inside, CLICK HERE.
Spiced Chicken Liver Pâté with Green Peppercorns
- 1 pound chicken livers
- 1/4 cup duck fat, grass-fed ghee, or leaf lard, plus extra for storage
- 1 cup chopped shallot (about 2 large)
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons Calvados or other apple brandy, brandy, or sub. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup coconut cream* (the creamy part of a can of coconut milk)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pickled green peppercorns in brine, drained
- Rinse chicken livers and pat dry.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup duck fat, ghee, or leaf lard over medium-high heat. Add shallot, spices, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add chicken livers to the pan and cook 3 - 4 minutes more, stirring occasionally, just until livers are browned. Do not overcook*.
- Add brandy or balsamic vinegar and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Place in a small food processor or high-powered blender with tamper. Add coconut cream and puree until very smooth*. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. The puree will be somewhat runny at this point.
- Add 2 tablespoons green peppercorns to mixture and stir (don't puree) to combine.
- Pour puree into ramekins, leaving at least 1/4-inch of headroom. This batch will fill 3 to 4, 6-inch ramekins, or you can do 1 big container if you like.
- Sprinkle tops with remaining 1 teaspoon green peppercorns. Pour a thin layer of melted fat over the top to keep the pate fresh and prevent discoloration.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or until set) before serving.* Best if made at least one day in advance, and allowed to rest at room temperature at least 30 minutes before enjoying. Pâté may be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.
*For coconut cream, refrigerate a can of coconut milk for at least a few hours or overnight. Open and skim the firm, creamy part from the top. If you forgot to refrigerate, simply open the can without shaking, and do your best to take the white, creamy part from the top, rather than the clear liquid.
*For the smoothest pate, don't overcook the chicken livers. They should be brown on the outside and somewhat pink in the middle. Also, puree the pate thoroughly, until desired smoothness is reached.
*Suggested accompaniments: Sliced pears, pickles, kale chips, dehydrated beet or sweet potato chips, carrot or celery sticks, endive, or your favorite gluten-free or Paleo crackers or toast.
Sat. Fat (grams)8.31