Liver Terrines

Liver terrines, often called liver pâtés, are popular, inexpensive appetizers—except, of course, for those made with foie gras.The classic liver terrine is a mixture of liquefied livers—that is, cleaned, soaked, blended, and strained according to the procedure on page 855—with eggs and seasonings, baked in a terrine until set. An example of this type of recipe can be found on page 874.

This kind of liver terrine generally contains flour as a stabilizer. Because the liver forcemeat is liquid, the flour improves the texture of the cooked product by helping bind the moisture. Heavy cream is also included in most recipes as a source of fat. Other sources of fat sometimes used in addition to or in place of the cream are ground pork fat, ground bacon, marrow, and rendered foie gras fat left over from making terrines.

Another type of liver terrine consists of a basic pork forcemeat with a liver content high enough so the flavor of the liver predominates.To make this type of terrine, make the forcemeat on page 856, but use 6 times the quantity of liver.The forcemeat will be quite soft. Follow the basic procedure for making forcemeat terrines (see p. 860),using whole, trimmed chicken livers marinated in brandy as the garnish.

A quick and simple substitute for these more elaborate terrines might be considered a type of rillettes (see the next section), as it consists of a seasoned mixture of cooked meat (liver, in this case) and fat.This is the type of chicken liver pâté found on delicatessen and coffee shop menus.To make this type of pâté, sauté some chicken livers, mash or purée them, and mix the purée with about one-eighth its weight in rendered chicken fat, pork fat, soft butter, or other fat, or else with one-fourth its weight in cream cheese. Season as desired, with salt, pepper, herbs, brandy or sherry, and/or sautéed minced onion.

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