My family kicks off every Christmas Eve with my sister’s chicken liver pâté, setting upon it like savages, schmearing the velvety stuff onto toast points. This ritual dates back to the 1980s, when my sister was first living on her own. Having discovered that chicken livers could be had dirt cheap, she prepared them in every way she could, including this one, a standby of French housewives and midcentury American ladies’ luncheons alike. Pureeing the cooked livers along with a little brandy, a lot of butter, and a few other things transforms the humblest of ingredients into something magnificent. —Beth Kracklauer
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- 8 oz. chicken livers, cleaned
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp. rendered chicken fat or unsalted butter
- ½ medium yellow onion, minced (1 cup)
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. Cognac or other brandy
- 2 large, hard-boiled eggs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Toast points, for serving
To a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the livers and stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the livers are firm but still faintly pink at the center, 6–8 minutes.
Set a colander over a large bowl and strain the livers, reserving the cooking liquid. Transfer the livers to a food processor and set aside.
In a large skillet over high heat, melt the chicken fat or butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and just beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer the onions to the food processor, add ¼ cup of the reserved liver cooking liquid along with the Cognac and eggs and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer to a jar, and chill until ready to serve, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Serve cold or at room temperature with toast points.