Ballymaloe Chicken Liver Pâté with Melba Toast*


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    , depending on how it is served

Appears in

Simply Delicious: Book 1

Simply Delicious

By Darina Allen

Published 1989

  • About

This has been our pâté maison at Ballymaloe since the opening of the restaurant. We serve it in several different ways.

  1. In little ramekins accompanied by hot crusty white bread.
  2. In tiny pottery pots as part of a second course called ‘Little pots of Pâté.
  3. We fill the Pâté into a loaf tin lined with cling film and, when it is set, slices are arranged on individual plates with a little dice of well-seasoned tomato concassé and then it is garnished with chervil or lemon balm.
  4. For a buffet, the loaf-shaped Pâté is covered with a thin layer of soft butter, which is decorated with tiny rosettes of butter and thyme flowers. The whole Pâté is then arranged on a bed of lettuces and garnished with herbs in flower.
  5. Rosettes of Pâté can be piped onto tiny triangles of Melba Toast, tiny Ballymaloe Cheese Biscuits or slices of cucumber. These rosettes must be served within an hour of being prepared and are very pretty. Garnish with a spot of tomato concassé and a little chervil.
  6. Pâté can be formed into a roll, wrapped in cling film or greaseproof paper and refrigerated. Later the paper is removed ahd the roll of Pâté is decorated with rosettes of butter and thyme leaves and flowers.


  • 225 g/8 ozs fresh chicken livers
  • 30 ml/2 tablesp./ cup brandy
  • 200–300 g/8–12 ozs/1–2 cups butter (depending on how strong the chicken livers are)
  • 1 teasp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • clarified butter to seal the top


Wash the livers and remove any membrane or green tinged bits. Melt a little butter in a frying pan; when the butter foams add in the livers and cook over a gentle heat. Be careful not to overcook them or the outsides will get crusty; all trace of pink should be gone. Put the livers through a sieve or into a food processor. De-glaze the pan with brandy, allow to flame, add garlic and then scrape off with a spatula and add to the livers. Purée for a few seconds. Allow to cool, then add 225 g/8 ozs/1 cup butter and fresh thyme leaves. Season carefully, taste and add more butter if necessary. This Pâté should taste fairly mild and be quite smooth in texture.

Clarify some butter and run a little over the top of the Pâté which can then be put into little pots or into one large terrine. Serve with Melba Toast or hot white bread. This Pâté will keep for 4 or 5 days in a refrigerator.

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