Elegant Holiday Spread
Treat yourself and your holiday guests to a spread better than the rest! Classic French Chicken Pate and eye-catching Tangerine Cranberry Chutney mingle for a totally satisfying cocktail-hour nibble. Come learn our tricks for a silky, airy pate, and french cheese and cracker pairings to match.
Perfect, rich Chicken Pate and punchy Tangerine Cranberry Chutney deserve a place on the pre-dinner snack hall-of-fame. Make it all the day before, and effortlessly pull from the fridge with host-with-the-most nonchalance. Pair with crackers, French cheeses, and cornichons.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes, plus time to set
Classic French Chicken Pate:
- 1 pound chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon capers (optional, for an additional tang)
Tangerine Cranberry Chutney:
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Juice and zest of 2 tangerines
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar or tangerine vinegar if available
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A pinch of ground cinnamon
Cook the livers and onions:
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and fresh thyme, cooking for another minute until fragrant.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken livers. Cook until browned on the outside but still slightly pink in the middle, about 3-5 minutes per side.
- Carefully pour in the brandy or cognac. If you’re using a gas stove, tilt the pan slightly to ignite the brandy, or let it cook off the alcohol for about a minute. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Process and plate:
- Transfer the liver mixture to a food processor. Add the heavy cream, remaining butter, and capers if using. Season with salt and pepper.
- Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Pass the mixture through a fine sieve for an extra smooth texture, pressing down with a spoon.
- Spoon the pâtéinto a serving bowl or jar and smooth the top with a spatula. For best results, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld and the pate to set.
Make the chutney:
- In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, water, and the juice of one tangerine. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the mustard seeds in the vinegar, adding the zest of one tangerine to infuse the flavor.
- After the cranberries have cooked down, let the mixture cool slightly before blending.
- In a food processor, combine the cranberry mixture, soaked mustard seeds with vinegar, mustard powder, salt, and cinnamon. Blend until you achieve a grainy consistency, with some mustard seeds still intact for texture.
- For a burst of freshness, stir in the zest of the second tangerine.
- Taste the chutney and adjust for sweetness or acidity, adding more sugar or vinegar if needed. If the mixture is too thick, thin it with a tablespoon of water.
- Transfer the chutney to a jar and let it sit in the fridge for at least a day before using, to let the flavors meld.