May 5, 2012
When we were younger Sunday lunch wasn't a roast, it was often a great platter of cold meats, cheeses, pickles and salad- basically a delicious Ploughman's Lunch.
A traditional Ploughman's Lunch is definitively English, but does seem to vary according to region. Some include pork pie, sliced ham, or other meats, but what they all have in common are cheese, pickles and bread, usually washed down with an ale (or two)
I really like a snacky, nibbly meal like this that I can mix and match to suit my mood and what I happen to have in the refrigerator at the time.
My fridge is usually pretty well stocked with all sorts of odds and ends, and today I just happen to have a packet of chicken livers in my fridge that are crying out to be made into a heart, rustic pate that will be perfect on my luncheon platter.
Offal is really nothing to be afraid of. It's cheap (500g of livers just $2ish), great protein, and actually quite yummy.
This recipe is a really easy way to try it out without too much effort or ickiness factors if you're squeamish.
500g fresh Chicken Livers
200g Speck or Streaky Bacon
2/3 cup lactose free Cream
2 tab Brandy
3 cloves Garlic
Salt and Pepper
This is one of your lovely fresh chicken livers.
See how shiny and glossy it is, quite pretty isn't it? They aren't slimy or gross, and they don't smell at all.
All you need to do is cut off any of the white bits, then cut the larger part in half. Easy peasy.
If you are still a bit worried about the flavour being strong and iron-y, just soak them in some lactose free milk or even water, with a decent pinch of salt for a couple of hours then dry them well
Cut the speck or bacon into thick slices, then slowly cook them and the garlic without oil,
over a low heat until cooked and lots of the lovely smokey fat is rendered out
Pull out the speck and garlic, but keep the fat in the pan and turn to high heat
Pop in the herbs- I used sage, thyme and bay, then add in the dried chicken livers
Cook on high heat turning quickly. They aren't very big and won't take long at all to cook, only about a minute. You want them to be lovely and browned on the outside, but still just slightly pink in the inside.
If they are over cooked they go really sawdusty instead of soft and juicy
Once just about done, pour in the brandy to deglaze the pan, then pull off the heat
Take out the hard herbs and stems, then pop the lot into a blender.
Include all the pan fats and scrapings- they're full of yumminess. Add in the speck and the cream as well
Blend until nice and smooth
Put into containers, smooth the top, then place into the fridge.
The pate will firm up a lot once it's chilled, so if you want a softer consistency like peanut butter, add in some more cream, or even a chunk of butter.
I think it's definitely rich enough without it, and like to spread mine nice and thickly onto my bread
I went for so many yummy goodies with my Ploughman's Lunch- a semi hard earthy goats cheese, a crisp, sharp apple, some sweet, sour gherkins, warm crusty gluten free bread, and my lovely, silky pate, still slightly warm , and all washed down with a glass of Apple and Elderflower Cider.
Perfect for a picnic or Sunday Lunch.
So my Dear Readers, what do you think of offal, and what did you eat for Sunday Lunch when you were growing up?