Ballymaloe Chicken Liver Pâté with Melba Toast

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • serves


    , depending on how it is served

Appears in

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

Darina Allen's Simply Delicious Suppers

By Darina Allen

Published 2001

  • 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 a loaf tin lined with clingfilm with the pâté and, when it is set, slices are arranged on individual plates with a little well-seasoned tomato concassé and 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 on to 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. The pâté can be formed into a roll, wrapped in clingfilm or greaseproof paper and refrigerated. Later the paper is removed and the roll of pâté is decorated with rosettes of butter and thyme leaves and flowers.


  • 225 g fresh chicken livers
  • 225–340 g butter (depending on how strong the chicken livers are)
  • 1½–2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 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 the livers and cook over a gentle heat. Be careful not to overcook them or the outsides will get crusty; all traces 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 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.