Holiday Charcuterie

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.

Servings: 10-12
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:

  1. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic and fresh thyme, cooking for another minute until fragrant.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. Transfer the liver mixture to a food processor. Add the heavy cream, remaining butter, and capers if using. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  4. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve for an extra smooth texture, pressing down with a spoon.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the mustard seeds in the vinegar, adding the zest of one tangerine to infuse the flavor.
  3. After the cranberries have cooked down, let the mixture cool slightly before blending.
  4. 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.
  5. For a burst of freshness, stir in the zest of the second tangerine.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.