It has been an amazing week here in the Northwest, lots of sunshine and of course there has been some rain, but what would the Northwest be without the drizzle? I have lost count of all the new hummingbirds, the new-comer Rufus’s and add lots more Anna’s arriving for the new season. It will be at least another month before we see any Calliope’s. The Allen’s usually live on the outskirts and visit regularly. They are in the process of working out all of the logistics… all the planning of who will live where and who has control of what feeder and then when the wildflowers bloom in the fields and my hummingbird plants start to bloom they will have to start again! Not to say that we do not hear bickering going on out there. What is life without a little internal strife and squabbling among friends?
T has his manly meal the other day and I was trying to think of something different to make for dinner… something we had not had in a long time. I am one of those souls who dearly loves Liver Pâté… I usually have it once a year either during the Christmas Holidays or like a year ago for Valentine’s Dinner. With my Mother being sick since right before Christmas and then her passing just before Valentine’s Day we did not do much special this year… no Liver Pâté.
Liver Pâté came to my thoughts and I could not get rid of the wanting of… no the craving of it would be more like it. I love to spread some on lightly toasted baguette… I could just taste it. Then I wondered what would we have with it… another thing I dearly love is Mushroom soup. Homemade Mushroom soup that is thick and creamy now I had a meal that I was going to make no matter what. I wonder what T would think… was he in a mood for Liver Pâté and thick, creamy Mushroom Soup. When I told him I was making a list of things I needed from the market for dinner he asked what I was fixing… I let him know and he said it sounded good to him. He was even willing to go to market and get the few things I needed to make the meal… what a relief because I did not feel for the trip to town today.
I found this recipe several years ago from Food and Wine and started using it and it has been my favorite since. Very easy to make and it is silky-smooth… it melts in your mouth.
Chicken Liver Pâté
- 1/2 pound chicken livers, well-trimmed (I only use organic chicken livers)
- 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Cognac or Scotch whisky
- Freshly ground pepper
- Toasted baguette slices, for serving
In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken livers, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover; reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are barely pink inside, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers, onion and garlic to a food processor; process until coarsely pureed. With the machine on, add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Add the Cognac, season with salt and pepper and process until completely smooth. Scrape the pâté into 2 or 3 large ramekins. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm. Serve chilled.
Make Ahead: The pâté can be covered with a thin layer of melted butter, then wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.
Potato and Mushroom Soup
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms (1/2 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (1 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
- 3/4 cup crimini mushrooms (3/4 ounce) (slice up several and reserve)
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 stalk of celery chopped up finely
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced very thin
- 5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 large baking potatoes finely diced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup of cream (I used fat-free half n half instead)
- Crusty bread, for serving
Finely chop the mushrooms, onions and celery (I used my food processor.) Mince the garlic. Place all in pan with water and bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer until mushrooms and onions are tender. I let this boil down a little to make a headier broth, do not overcook the mix.
Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the stock, reserved sliced mushrooms, potatoes, and the mix you have already cooked, along with the thyme (I did not have any thyme so used parsley) to the pot. Cook over moderate heat until the potatoes are done, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and butter and season the soup with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread.
This soup is amazing; if anything I would add more mushrooms. It is a nice thick, creamy soup that you can taste each level of the ingredients. The leeks make a wonderful addition. You can make this without any cream or half n half and it is still very good.
T and I enjoyed the toasted baguette with the Liver Pâté immensely and the Mushroom and Potato Soup was a real treat that had so many layers of textures and full flavors each in its own right….