A Perfect Parfait

French Liver pâté, Belgium pâté, OK, at the end of the day it might all be called pâté, but if you don't want to be repeatedly stricken on the head by a baguette dexterously misused by an enraged French person never, ever call "foie gras" a pâté, for example.
So what is a Parfait, that I can tell you: it is a pâté passed through a sieve to make it silky smooth and that is what I prepared for Phil when she passed through London on her way back home.

It is simple to create a Parfait, the advantage being that you will not get the grainy texture you might get sometimes with other pâtés, so it is more palatable, And if you like your pâté smooth, the best bet is to go for a French or Belgium pâtés.

The recipe I used is adapted from Stéphane Reynaud’s "Terrines". Reynaud comes for the
Ardèche where you get some really fantastic little restaurants, if you have not been yet, jump on the next train, 100% good time guaranteed. But back to Mr Reynaud whose grandfather was a butcher and who seems to spend his time between his restaurant near Paris and writing books about pork, pâtés and associated subjects.

Chicken Liver Parfait
serves 4
500g (I lb) chicken livers
5 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
200g (7 oz) unsalted butter
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
5 juniper berries
pinch of ground cinnamon
100ml (2/5 cup) port
1 tbsp walnut oil

Heat the walnut oil in a pan on a medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until golden. Add the chicken livers, bacon and juniper berries and sear the livers until coloured on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with the port, making sure you scrape the tasty bits stuck to the pan and cook down until thick and syrupy. Pour into a food processor or blender and add the liver mixture, 150g of the butter, cinnamon and salt. Blitz until smooth.

Spoon the parfait into 4 terrine dishes, pressing down to fill the dishes well. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

To finish, melt the remaining butter then pour on the terrines to cover. Return to the fridge to harden the butter layer. This step is not essential and is really more for presentation than anything – we normally skip it (especially when it’s just the two of us eating), after all the parfait itself has plenty enough butter!

Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving to allow the parfait to come to room temperature.

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