mike kostyo

I know food.

chicken liver pâté

Guess how much a pound and a quarter of chicken livers set me back? Fifty-nine cents. FIFTY-NINE CENTS! This is the most bang for your buck you're likely to find in an hors d'œuvre. And you'll need a lot of this pâté  for your next party, because it's the best I've ever had.

Of course, it's Jacques Pépin's recipe and has three sticks of butter and a few tablespoons of Scotch (up from the original couple of teaspoons - it just felt right as I was pouring it in), so just reading it you know it's going to be good. The flavors are simple and classic - garlic, onion, thyme. Aside from the chicken livers, you should have it all in your kitchen already. It's cheap, easy and full of butter and booze - how is this not an American staple?

A few notes: an overnight chill really is best to let it firm up perfectly. You can also put it through a fine sieve or whir it with an immersion blender after it has set up a bit to really get it smooth, but it's unneccessary if you aren't too worried about looks - I didn't and it tasted perfectly creamy and rich. If you want to store it for any length of time, pour a little melted butter on top and wrap the ramekin in plastic wrap - Pépin says you can leave it in the fridge for a week or the freezer for a month.

chicken liver pâté

adapted from Jacques Pépin

+ 1/2 pound chicken livers, washed and dried
+ 1/2 small onion, sliced thinly
+ 1 small garlic clove, peeled and smashed
+ 1 bay leaf
+ 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leave
+ 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to taste
+ 1/2 cup water
+ 1 1/2 sticks room unsalted butter at room temperature
+ 2 tablespoons Scotch
+ finely ground fresh pepper, to taste
+ freshly chopped parsley for garnish
+ crackers, French bread or toasted baguette slices for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken livers, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of water to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are just pink in the middle, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the solids - liver, onions and garlic - to a food processor. Process until the mixture is coarsely pureed and combined. With the machine on, add the butter through the feed tube, a few tablespoons at a time until all of the butter is completely incorporated. Now add the Scotch and season with salt and pepper to taste; process until the mixture is smooth throughout. Transfer the pâté into a few large ramekins. Press plastic wrap on the surface of each and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley.

serves 6 to 8