Cold Chicken Liver Mousse (for Canapés or Pâté)


This is a mousse with a pleasant, slightly granular texture. I used to pipe it out at room temperature on to little discs of puff pastry, but circles of toast, dried in the oven, would be fine. It makes an excellent first course if made into quenelle shapes like the chicken liver parfait. This recipe involves both trimming and passing through a sieve but the quantity isn’t large so the consequences in terms of washing up won’t be grave.


  • 25 g unsalted butter plus 50g cut into pieces
  • 250 g chicken livers, trimmed of all black and greeny-yellow bits and as many nerve fibres as you can (leaving about 170g)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped, or 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp port, or 4 tbsp red wine plus 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • ½ tsp salt and 8 screws of freshly ground black pepper
  • parsley or chervil


Melt 25g of the butter in a frying pan and a few seconds after the bubbles have died down sauté the livers quickly for 3–4 minutes each side – they should still be pink in the middle. Remove, using a slotted spoon, to the bowl of a food processor, letting some of the butter drain back into the pan. Briskly sauté the shallots or onion for 3–4 minutes, add the port or red wine and sugar, and reduce to 1 tbsp. Scrape into the bowl with the livers, and add the rest of the butter. Run the motor for 20 seconds and remove the mixture to a sieve. Press through into another bowl with the back of a ladle and mix in well the cream and the brandy. Season well, remembering to let the salt dissolve before you taste. Pile into a piping bag fitted with a small star or plain nozzle, cool until the consistency of softish butter, and pipe as above or into small tartlet cases. Top each with a tiny piece of parsley or chervil.