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Duck liver pâté

Lisa Featherby recipe for duck liver pâté.

By Lisa Featherby
  • Serves 6 - 8
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking plus soaking, setting, cooling
Duck liver pâté
Duck liver pâté

Everyone should try making pâté at least once - it's easy and, compared with its price in shops, it's relatively cheap to make. There are many variations of pâté, from the simplest blend of fried liver, butter and cream. To achieve a smooth finish, pass the wet mixture through a very fine sieve, pushing it through with the back of a ladle. For the best result, bake the pâté in a water bath, which makes for gentle and even cooking. Start this recipe two days ahead to soak the livers and set the pâté.


  • 600 gm duck livers (about 4), trimmed
  • 200 ml milk
  • 2 golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 200 ml tawny Port
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 260 gm butter, diced, removed from fridge 30 minutes before making pâté
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
Port jelly
  • 500 ml tawny Port
  • 3 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes


  • 1
    Combine duck livers and milk in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate overnight to remove blood. Strain (discard liquid), then rinse livers and pat dry with paper towels.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 150C. Combine shallot, Port and brandy in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until reduced to about 60ml (5-10 minutes).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, heat 60gm butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add livers and fry, turning occasionally, until just cooked on the outside but still rare in the middle (2-2½ minutes). Transfer to a blender with remaining butter, Port reduction and shallot, blend until smooth and season well to taste. Add eggs and blend until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve into a jug.
  • 4
    Pour liver mixture into a 7cm x 10cm x 23cm loaf tin or pâté dish, then cover with a piece of baking paper and 2 pieces of foil or a lid. Place in a deep roasting pan lined with a tea towel, pour
    in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of tin and bake until set at the edges, but a little wobbly in the middle (1-1¼ hours). Remove pâté dish from water bath and set aside to cool, then chill completely in the fridge (at least 6 hours or overnight).
  • 5
    Meanwhile, for Port jelly, bring Port to the simmer in a small saucepan, squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to Port and stir to dissolve. Set aside to cool (around 1 hour), then carefully spoon on top of chilled pâté, season with cracked pepper and refrigerate again until set (around 2 hours). Serve pâté with crackers or toasts.


Drink Suggestion: Young sweet Sauternes. Drink suggestion by Max Allen