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French pâté is in fact easier to make than my grandmother’s chopped liver, which called for rendering chicken fat. Here, you just soften onions in butter, cook the livers, cool, purée and refrigerate.

You don’t have to bother with soaking the livers in milk, a step found in many recipes. Season aggressively: you want to taste the pepper, the coriander, the brandy and even the allspice and clove.

Finally, cook the liver quickly, over pretty high heat. What you want is to brown the outside while keeping the inside pink. This, perhaps, is another major difference between pâté and chopped liver, in which the livers are almost always cooked to death.


  • 10 to 15


  • 2

    allspice berries

  • 1


  • 4

    coriander seeds

  • ½

    cup butter

  • 1

    onion, chopped

  • 1

    pound chicken livers

  • Salt

  • cup cream

  • 1 to 2

    tablespoons brandy

  • Bread or crackers for serving

  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

      220 calories; 18 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 0 grams sugars; 10 grams protein; 239 milligrams cholesterol; 233 milligrams sodium

    • Note:

      The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
      Powered by Edamam


  1. In a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder, combine peppercorns, allspice, clove and coriander seeds; grind until fine and set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat; when foam subsides, add onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add livers to pan and sprinkle with salt; cook livers on one side until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes, then flip them and cook the other side. Be sure to keep heat relatively high so that the outside of livers sears and inside stays pink.
  3. Put onion, livers and their buttery juices into a food processor or blender with remaining butter, the cream, spices and brandy. Purée mixture until it is smooth; taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Put pâté in a terrine or bowl, smooth top and put in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or until fully set. Serve pâté with bread or crackers.
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