Chicken Liver Pate

chicken liver pâté

Somehow, I have a lot of fat. Fortunately most of it is in my freezer. I love duck fat and if you haven’t tried potatoes cooked in duck fat, I urge you to step away from the keyboard, go buy yourself a duck, render the fat, pluck some potatoes from your rooftop garden (if you live in Brooklyn), and fry them up. Then…Oy!… as anyone is likely say when they taste them.

But in spite of its slippery, unctuous qualities, fat isn’t necessarily a sexy subject to publishers. Niche subjects often get bypassed since they are always looking for the “market” for a subject or cookbook. And schmaltz? When was the last time you did a search for a cookbook on chicken fat? Yet certain things need to be written about, and I’m sure no one was all that interested in the dictionary before it was published, or a book about religious folks wearing flesh-cutting devices under their frocks, à la The Da Vinci Code.

pâté mold onions caramelizing for chicken liver pâté

So even if the authors aren’t going to be on David Letterman (although maybe we should start a write-in campaign for me and Michael?) I loved the idea of Michael Ruhlman’s treatise on shmaltz, or chicken fat, that he wrote and produced as an electronic version, before the print version comes out at a future date.

There’s a lot of talk about e-cookbooks, much of it about what people will pay for an app versus a book, but this app completely takes advantage of what the electronic format can bring – lots of photography (which readers love), an easy-to-read, tactile format, and best of all, a picture of Michael Ruhlman’s hair. (Next up: I suggest an interactive app exclusively on that subject.)


All kidding aside, I was excited to find a number of recipes that I found appealing, especially since I have a freezer-ful of duck fat. But what is schmaltz? And why did it appeal to Michael, so much so that he wrote a whole book about it? Well, I think he can explain it better than I can.

caramelized onions for chicken liver pâté chicken liver pâté

I’m not as, um, exuberant as he is with the fat (there’s a chicken pâté recipe in The Sweet Life in Paris that has a good swap-out option for the copious amounts of fat or butter traditionally used) but I had a freezer-full of duck fat waiting to be used, and I couldn’t think of a better opportunity than to whip up a batch of pâté – à la Monsieur Ruhlman.

chicken liver pâté

Chicken Liver Pate
Print Recipe
Makes about 2 cups (600g)
Adapted from The Book of Schmaltz by Michael Ruhlman The jelly was something I added, because once I spread the pureed pâté mixture in my covered mold, I thought it would make a nice presentation. People get weird about things that are jellied, so it’s optional. But if you decide to make it, you can use a ruby port, like I did, or marsala, sherry, or even a sweet dessert wine, like sauternes, late harvest riesling or muscat. If you don’t have chicken fat, or schmaltz, or duck fat, use melted butter for sautéeing the onions, cooking them until wilted. (They will not caramelize the same way as they will with chicken or duck fat.) And replace the melted chicken or duck fat used when pureeing the livers with softened butter.
For the pâté
3/4 cup (180g) melted chicken or duck fat
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 pound (450g) chicken livers
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 large hard-boiled eggs
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon whiskey, port, or sherry wine
pinch cayenne powder
For the jelly
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons port wine (155g, total)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin granules
pinch of ground allspice
1. In a large skillet cook the onions with 1/4 cup of the chicken or duck fat, stirring frequently, until they are browned and beginning to caramelize. It will take 10 to 15 minutes. Once browned, scrape them onto a paper towel-lined plate and let them drain.
2. Add the chicken livers to the pan and season with the salt and pepper. Cook the livers, stirring often, until they are just-cooked through but still pink inside. Remove from heat.
3. In a food processor, pulse the hard-boiled eggs a few times, then add the cooked livers (scraping in any pan juices), vinegar, liquor, cayenne, the fried onions, and the remaining 1/2 cup melted chicken or duck fat, then puree until smooth. Taste, and adjust with salt and pepper.
(In the app, Michael Ruhlman suggests that if you want it very smooth, you can press the mixture through a wide mesh sieve. I didn’t do that as I didn’t want to lose any of those little caramelized bits of onion.)
4. Scrape the mixture into a pâté mold or decorative bowl, and chill a few hours, until firm.
5. To make the jelly, put the water and 2 tablespoons of the port in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let sit 5 minutes.
6. In a small pan, warm the 1/2 cup of the port with the sugar, allspice, then pour it over the softened gelatin, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool until it’s tepid, then pour it over the back of a spoon (to avoid creating a divot in the pâté), over the chilled pâté.

Serving: The pâté can be served with a shallot marmalade, or just sprinkled with sea salt on crackers or toast. A treat is a sandwich made with this liver spread and cream cheese, smeared between two slices of Jewish rye bread.

Storage: The pâté will keep three to four days in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to two months.

For tips on using gelatin, check out my post: Tips on Using Gelatin.

Duck fat is availabe from well-stocked grocers, gourmet food stores, and some butcher shops, as well as online at D’Artagnan and Amazon. You can also render your own duck fat.

Related Recipes

White Bean Dip

Salmon Spread

Braised Short Ribs

Caramelized Ribs


  • Guy
    January 9, 2013 2:40pm

    Maybe it’s just me but that first photo looks especially delectable! I haven’t had much experience with duck fat, but have been meaning to for a while. Perhaps this will be the inspiration I need, cheers!

  • fishsticksforme
    January 9, 2013 3:31pm

    Mmmmm… The bar in the Carlylse Hotel in New York sets down a lovely little bowl of duck fat potato chips with your drink. Happy mouth!

    Great post – thanks!

  • advictim
    January 9, 2013 3:37pm

    Oh, yum. Just finished my batch of duck fat and now I’m sooo craving this. Off to find another fat duck, I guess.

  • Amber
    January 9, 2013 3:54pm

    This looks amazing. We’ve recently abandoned all remnants of a “low fat” mentality in the kitchen (for the sake of both flavor and health) so I’m actually rather excited about that book. : )

  • Pip
    January 9, 2013 4:09pm

    Oh my, a cookbook featuring chicken fat! One of my childhood favorites was a dish my mom made by roasting flour/salt/pepper dredged chicken and small potatoes (cut side down) on a jelly roll pan in which she’d melted a stick of butter. Salty potatoes crisped in chicken fat and butter = best food ever!

  • January 9, 2013 4:11pm

    Wow, you know you have a good recipe in front of you when you suddenly want chicken liver at 9am. This is perfect because I’ve been looking for ways to get more liver into my diet. Plus I’ve always wanted to know how to make that gelee on top of the pate – and now I do!

    I wish I had an iPad for Ruhlman’s cookbook – looks great!

  • January 9, 2013 4:29pm

    Not sure if it was intended but rather funny to read fat and bypass mentioned in adjacent sentences “fat isn’t necessarily a sexy subject…often get bypassed”
    All pâté recipes I’ve seen involves butter, nice to see this alternative version

  • Adele
    January 9, 2013 5:00pm

    Now that’s what I call a shmear :~).

    I have a beautiful little jar of duck fat in the fridge, from a recent sauteed duck breast dinner, and now I’m torn between making pâté, aka chopped liver, and roasted potatoes.

  • January 9, 2013 5:11pm

    Love pâté. I spent way too many hours in French supermarkets gazing down the pâté aisles. (Yes, pâté aisles.)

  • January 9, 2013 5:18pm

    I made chicken liver paté for the New Year’s Eve. The recipe was from a nice small restaurant in Tallinn, and included flambeing the fried chicken livers (I almost burnt the kitchen down!), cooking a batch of raisin syrup to flavour the paté (used the cooked raisins for a sweet cake later) and then pressing the whole thing through a fine mesh sieve (took forever!). Well, I didn’t have to save any caramelized onion bits, so I had no excuse for ignoring these instructions, and the resulting paté was silky smooth indeed.

    Now, I wonder if I can find any schmaltz over here.

  • January 9, 2013 5:20pm

    Since I’m stuck in Amerique Profonde for the winter, where there’s no pâté aisles at the supermarket, this recipes comes as a fabulous gift. Thanks.

  • hng23
    January 9, 2013 5:40pm

    @Pille: schmaltz is one of the easiest things to make, no need to look for a commercial product. Every time you buy chicken, tear out the raw fat & freeze it. When you have a substantial amount, say, a couple of cups, take it out & throw it into a frying pan. Chop an onion & add to the melted fat, cooking until the onion has caramelized. Strain the fat into a jar & set aside. (You can eat the onion or ditch it.) When the rendered fat cools to room temp, place in the fridge until ready to eat. When I was a kid we used to eat schmaltz slathered on bread as an afterschool snack. Dee-licious!

  • Clabourne
    January 9, 2013 5:50pm

    Having Idaho roots, I would hazard a guess that potatoes grow in The Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan as well as on Brooklyn roofs.

  • Modaca
    January 9, 2013 5:59pm

    Sounds great. The best fried potatoes I ever ate were those we cooked in goose fat.

  • A fan in New Jersey
    January 9, 2013 6:21pm

    David, your first two sentences are priceless.

    Had no idea there was a book on schmaltz. Must look for it.

    Having to throw away containers of the home-rendered variety was among the more painful aspects of Hurricane Sandy to this devoted home cook/baker and freezer user. I’m starting to stockpile again.

    People have often asked me if I actually (still) use chicken fat in my matzo balls. The answer is OF COURSE. And seltzer, for lightness.

    I believe that Mel Brooks has professed his love of gribenes (Yiddish for scraps). For those who don’t know, they’re the little hard dark brown crunchy pieces (cracklings) left after chicken fat has been rendered, cooked with onions–a highly prized tidbit in Jewish homes of a couple of generations ago and no doubt back through the ages. Does eating this stuff kill you? Well, Mel is 86!

  • hag
    January 9, 2013 6:21pm

    Mmmm. Fat is good!

  • January 9, 2013 6:24pm

    Oy David ~ i love your blog

  • January 9, 2013 6:29pm

    Oh. My. God. I was just skimming through Schmaltz, paused on this and thought “I need to make that.” But the addition of the port gelee? Yowza. Absolutely making this right away. And I just happen to have duck fat in the fridge. Sometimes planets just align.

  • January 9, 2013 6:35pm

    Are you kidding?! That pate with the jelly (the best bonus part!) on top look amazing! Duck/chicken liver pâté is a delicacy, I would love to have some right now, with a glass of red, please :-)

  • January 9, 2013 6:46pm

    I love chicken liver pate and I think the idea if the jelly on top is brilliant, David. I would like to give that a try but I don’t have powdered gelatin, only leaves. Is 1 leaf enough?

  • Steve
    January 9, 2013 6:59pm

    Great photography.

  • January 9, 2013 7:32pm

    dumb question: does duck fat keep in the fridge also? i have a collection over a year old. smells great, but wondering if i should have kept it in the freezer? i guess i can fry some up and see if it smells rancid. answered my own question. guess i’ll try the recipe!

  • January 9, 2013 8:37pm

    Oh how marvellous! I’ve always made chicken liver paté with butter — why did I never think of using schmaltz (which I often have in the fridge leftover from roast chicken dinners). Presumably I could also substitute goose fat, which is easy to buy in jars at the supermarket?

  • Zoey
    January 9, 2013 8:37pm

    I remember sliced liver loaf from my kid days in the 50’s — it had a white ring of fat around each slice that we always peeled off and never ate. Looking back on it I guess it was the American version of pate — kind of like velveeta….yikes.

  • January 9, 2013 8:48pm

    David, I make your pâté from “The Sweet Life in Paris” almost as a dietary staple, and love it! How interesting to add the hard boiled eggs, and no cream? I suppose the only way to taste the difference is to try making it.

    I love the jelly idea on top – sort of an aspic, without the meat stock, and the allspice adds the fragrant note that the apples and nutmeg do in your recipe.

    Will definitely give it a go~!

  • Roseann
    January 9, 2013 8:49pm

    Thanks for this recipe since I have a tub of Duck Fat in my freezer (bought so a friend could try frying fries) and are always looking for ways to use it! I usually BAKE potato fries after “smearing” them with the fat and also use a little when sauteing Brussel Sprouts but Pate sounds even better! My next party goers will be served the pate AND the shallot marmalade. What decadence! I love it! We have a small restaurant here in Chicago called “Uncle Dougies” which serves duck fat fries once or twice a week and the line outside the door is sometimes a half a block long. They also have Foie Gras added to some of their Hot Dogs as well. Another favorite of their clientele. But yes we usually eat a lot more healthier with Kale, and brussel sprouts and home grown tomatoes. But a little fat can go a long way! Thanks again Dave.

  • January 9, 2013 9:13pm

    I often make chicken liver pate and never add an egg but I find hard boiled eggs in almost every recipe. Is this just to cut the flavor of the liver? Or does the egg serve some other purpose?

  • Nancy Bourguignon
    January 9, 2013 9:16pm

    As someone that has gone mostly plant-based for health reasons ( and as spousal support I guess ), the Drool washed over me as I read ” Chicken Liver Pâté ” ! Boy does that sound good with crusty bread ! I used to make it, although I’m sure yours is way superior. I also used to make Rillettes. Yum. About the jelly …. when I was younger, I would bring pâté to work ( store bought ) and always cut out the jelly, thinking it wasn’t any good, until one day when a co-worker, looking at my tossed-aside jelly asked me, with longing in her eyes, ” are you gonna eat that ? “. Needless to say, I never tossed my jelly again ! I’m thinkin’ I’ll make the pâté and put it in a, oh, mushroom shaped mold ?

  • shari
    January 9, 2013 9:16pm

    Although I’m not familiar with duck fat, I love fried chicken livers, and potatoes cooked in chicken fat, so this can’t be wrong.

  • January 9, 2013 9:35pm

    It’s refreshing to see others so excited about animal fats. I think they taste wonderful and are a great way to not waste any part of the animal. It’s only respectful, in my opinion, to try and use everything you have! Bravo, lovely photos.

  • Diana
    January 9, 2013 10:07pm

    Only memories are left from those magic days, when my grandma (who will be 99 on February 14th) was making pancakes on pork lard, when leftover duck fat was carefully stored for later (usually to fry potatoes or to make liver pate) and when extra goose fat was used to cook sauerkraut. Wow, these are the days to remember. That was my childhood in Lithuania. Where did it go? What happned??

  • Alessandra
    January 9, 2013 10:15pm

    Being Italian, my chicken liver pate’ is made with olive oil, onions, livers all cooked with some vin santo, and then a bit of capers and anchovies added, chopped fine but not completely smooth. It is delicious on light rye bread (not very Italian this). Your recipe sounds very good indeed too, and reminds me of the girls in ‘The Group’ by Mary McCarthy making a pate’ similar to yours for a party. Great book and great recipe.

  • January 9, 2013 10:26pm

    Oy! I need duck fat in my life.

  • January 9, 2013 10:40pm

    Oh my. That makes me want some fat in a bad (good?) way.

  • January 9, 2013 11:22pm

    I save chicken fat all year in the freezer just for Passover matzohballs.When my grandmother would be rendering schmaltz, I remember my father treating himself to gribenes and schmaltz on fresh challah with a liberal hit of coarsely ground black pepper. Sometimes he would top it with thinly sliced radishes.

  • January 10, 2013 12:41am

    In my French restaurants, the chicken liver pâté I served was actually good old chopped liver which, being a Jewish dish, is made with schmaltz of course, and the onions have to be cooked just short of burning. It was always a best seller.

  • Di
    January 10, 2013 1:18am

    I’m another one wondering about the no cream thing. The recipe I usually use (from the Australian Women’s Weekly Best Ever Recipes) contains butter, cream and bacon but I will certainly try substituting fat for butter!

  • Debra
    January 10, 2013 2:07am

    Even though I’m just back from a trip where I fell–hard–for rillettes de canard (would you care to expostulate on that subject?) I just don’t think I can give up your chicken liver pâté with apples recipe. It’s too darn good. Sorry, I’m stuck on that one!

  • Poornima
    January 10, 2013 2:26am

    Here in Australia we get duck fat in the supermarket. Never tried it though. Will give this a go.

  • Megan
    January 10, 2013 4:21am

    David, did you put the pate in a 2 cup pate dish?

  • January 10, 2013 4:35am

    I have a freezer full of duck fat as well. My husband has purchased it in large quantities from D’Artagnan but I have been hesitant to use it yet. If you say it’s good with potatoes, that’s where I might as well start….

  • Sarahb1313
    January 10, 2013 4:39am

    Wow. Memories of watching my mom render the chicken fat, awaiting the delectable little crispies leftover!! Try to use it whenever I make chopped chicken livers but its so hard to find extra fat, even on a whole chicken. I did save the fat from a roast holiday duck though!

    And David- wanted to let you know- made your Coconut cake from” Room for Dessert” for a birthday, brought to my favorite restaurant, where they are known to serve a Lebovitz dessert too, and they loved the cake so much (despite not being coconut fans) they are going to add it to their dessert menu! Other patrons were ooohing and aaahhing as they brought the cake to the table. Love that book!!!

    • January 10, 2013 10:38am
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you – and your friends – like that Coconut Cake. It’s a favorite of mine, too!

  • wendy
    January 10, 2013 6:03am

    You know how to make food look so sexy. It looks so delicious!
    And by the way, can you buy chicken or duck fat? And if so, where can you buy it?


  • January 10, 2013 6:28am

    Yum. Paté has had a resurgence lately in my household and I’ve been thinking about making some. This looks like the recipe to try!

  • January 10, 2013 6:40am

    Never having made chicken liver pate for a long time, not easy to buy chicken livers in Shanghai as people tend to buy the bird complete. However someone tracked them down for me and yesterday I made some. Almost identical to your recipe, I use brandy and add a bit of thyme. I also cook in butter. I was pleased to see your post today and see you also enjoy this. Lunchtime today I will be enjoying some hot toast and pate. A real treat.

  • Michael Duffy
    January 10, 2013 7:38am

    Oh my God. You brought me back to my grandma’s little kitchen, where she carefully saved chicken livers from all those Sunday roast chicken dinners, and separately saved all the schmaltz. At some point, these saved pieces became the amazing chopped chicken livers of my youth. I am pretty anxious to try this recipe. Yum!

    As usual, David, your post is perfect. Thanks for the great pictures, the wonderful text, and the trip back in time to my grandma’s house!

  • nechama
    January 10, 2013 1:36pm

    Very interesting David. Chassidish Jews render chicken fat for Passover and use this in place of oil for the 8 days. Chicken fat differs according to the chicken. Some is white and some yellow. It is truly tasty, but just for those 8 days, as it is not so healthy. I live in Jerusalem and have recently learned that ‘liverwurst’ is highly nutritious. So, I started looking/searching around for a kosher liverwurst, because it is not usually made from a kosher source (goose). David, now I see you have made a liver pate. Is this the closest to traditional liverwurst? Or, how could I adapt your recipe to a liverwurst type spread? Is it possible? With appreciation.

  • January 10, 2013 3:36pm

    Um, this looks incredible. I have this fantasy that I will deeply love pate, but I don’t yet. All these ideas for pate and chopped liver in the comments though–I’m halfway there. Something about the photo on Michael’s book is both utterly tantalizing and utterly disgusting at the same time. I’m rooting for the tantalizing though. Thanks for the book tip and the recipe and the inspiration. Will try.

  • berit
    January 10, 2013 5:05pm

    Here in Germany, schmaltz is usually from pork. I’ve had the good fortune to recently receive one freshly made, when a pig was slaughtered in the neighbouring village. Nothing better than fresh bread, schmaltz, bit of salt and some gherkin.

  • Rika
    January 10, 2013 5:07pm

    Here’s another very good book with lots of information about animal fats and recipes:

    Jennifer McLagan: Fat. An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes

  • naomi
    January 10, 2013 6:48pm

    I gave up bird and animals – though not fish! – years ago, but I still think about pate on occasion. The preparation and containers are the stuff of ritual too. I’d almost make it for that, then give it away.

    On the dictionary, you may want to look up the book, “The Professor and the Madman.” It actually is interesting – who knew many of the entries in the Oxford were contributions by an insane man?

  • January 10, 2013 7:42pm

    David- I’m a pig farmer so while I’m not necessarily rich in duck fat, I more than make up for it in pork fat. Would it be possible to make this recipe using rendered fat, either caul or back instead? Just curious as to your thoughts, particularly regarding flavor concerns. Merci!

  • Rhon
    January 10, 2013 10:05pm

    I have a silly question, is this similar to the pate used on bahn mi (Vietnamese pork rolls?) I am doing bahn mi for a lunch next weekend and am looking for a recipe for the pate. Thanks.

  • January 10, 2013 11:09pm

    I can’t wait to try this, I am ordering my duck fat right now!!!!

  • January 10, 2013 11:35pm
    David Lebovitz

    Rhon: No, it’s not the same I’m afraid. This isn’t a pâté that can be thinly sliced for bahn mi.

    Sarah: I don’t have much experience with pork fat and think the flavor might be too different than the livers to work well. But since you likely have a lot of pork fat on hand, give it a try and see perhaps?

  • Deborah
    January 11, 2013 1:39am

    I know you don’t get HBO in Paris. But all this month they are showing a short film with Julia Louis-Dreyfus Called “Picture Paris”. I mention the movie because PATÉ figures very prominently in the plot. It’s very off beat…..I hope you can watch it!

  • Bebe
    January 11, 2013 2:30am

    I LOVE duck! This looks absolutely scrumptious! Only problem is my husband has cardiac/cholesterol issues, and I constantly find myself foregoing recipes like this because I’m afraid to offer it. :( I know … offer it when we have parties… But…

  • January 11, 2013 6:31am

    i want to like this…i want to like this…i want to be brave and like this!!

  • Angela
    January 11, 2013 7:07am

    Something I read for a class and you might also be interested in reading (if you’re into Anthropology anthologies)

    Besides the obvious discussions of body image and what the word “Fat” entails, it also speaks of the various cultures in the world that use fat in their cooking (gotta love the manteca in fresh tamales).

  • Melissa
    January 11, 2013 8:46am

    This sounds delicious. I have a hefty supply of goose fat, leftover from Christmas. Do you think I could use that in place of the duck fat?


  • January 11, 2013 11:53am

    Mmmm ….Chicken Liver Pate – I used to make it frequently ‘back in the day” – 1980 dinner parties …thanks for the reminder …the recipe given is almost identical to the one I used to use except being down here in NZ we used butter of course :)
    Thanks for the memories – note to self – make pate.

  • January 11, 2013 8:35pm

    I read your posts regularly but don’t usually leave a comment.
    When I saw your first photo I thought chocolate with jelly, oh yum!
    Now I think I would like this recipe quite well, You did a great job of the photograph.

  • jspecht
    January 11, 2013 11:39pm

    Oh pate, pate, you are my friend!!!

  • January 12, 2013 12:32am

    I am kicking myself that I didn’t think of freezing the precious duck fat… and that I have only just heard of schmaltz… I mean, I know about chicken fat, but not that it was called schmaltz. :-)

  • Catherine
    January 12, 2013 6:03am

    This reminded me of one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted; chicken liver pate, prepared by Chef Pierre Castagne at Le Perroquet Restaurant (now closed) in St. Maarten during the 1980’s. Absolutely heavenly.

    I love the cognac colour of the jelly on this pate. Now to find some duck fat.

  • Claire
    January 12, 2013 8:26am

    Apropos of absolutely nothing, I just wanted to say how much we (and all friends who have tasted it) have enjoyed/devoured your raspberry sherbet recipe. It’s summer and very hot here at the moment (Sydney) and it’s wonderful. Like being slapped in the mouth by a perfect raspberry. Thank you! (the mango sorbet with rum and lime is awesome too -can you tell I’ve been playing with my Christmas present?)

  • January 12, 2013 10:09am

    Still searching for the infernal sesame baguette in Paris and can’t focus on another food group yet.
    So far I haven’t liked what I’ve seen or it’s not baguette but a flattened loaf like at Gosselin…
    A needle in a huge haystack but I’m not giving up being a sesame fan…
    True every chinese takeout has sesame candies but this will not do for breakfast.

  • January 12, 2013 3:44pm

    This looks absolutely amazing – on my “to make” list very very soon. And I love the jelly on top – so pretty.

  • January 12, 2013 7:51pm

    This looks AMAZING ! I’m dying for a little piece, please !!!

  • wendy
    January 12, 2013 11:57pm

    You’re the best of the best.

    It would be great to meet you one day!

    I like your style, thinking, mentality, photography, humour, generosity!

    Many thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • JenniferB
    January 13, 2013 12:48pm

    Health concerns about duck/goose fat?

    Fear not, duck and goose fat are among the ‘good’ fats (good for you) according to the Weston A. Price Foundation.
    See their article,
    For a more general and equally well researched discussion (about ‘good’ nutritional principles, mostly based on traditional pre-industrial diets, see
    Available in many languages.
    And THE book with theory and recipes, only $16, also based on scientific literature;

    This approach has improved my health enormously and I eat duck fat nearly every day, using it in place of butter for omelettes, braising any meat or stew, even salmon. It also explains how critically important the fermentation of foods, especially grains, is for easy digestion and the neutralisation of phytic acid (on alll seeds, nuts and grains) with can cause intestinal and bowel problems if consumed in large amounts (as I discovered to my cost). Most importantly, we need to eat some fat at every meal for a balanced diet. Our brains need it!

    For me, a criteria of how ‘bad’ a fat is for your body, is the ease with which it can be dissolved when washing up. For example, butter, duck and goose fat are more easily rinsed off plates and utensils with hot water than pork, beef and lamb fat. And the residues of a slightly over-date *organic* chocolate paste with palm oil could only be removed from its glass jar by white spirit. Hardly a scientific test but it must say something about the digestibilty of various fats.

    Best of all, good fats and traditionally prepared foods taste really good, as many of David’s recipes testify!

    End of missionary rant. Enjoy fat!

  • Chris Morrison
    January 13, 2013 9:04pm

    Awesome awesome awesome! I just made this and it turned out great! I’m lucky to be able to get rendered duck fat in the supermarket here (Montreal), not to mention some excellent baguette au levain. I too am thankful for this non-dairy version…so many patés are full of milk and cream.

    My version didn’t taste so well rounded so I used a touch of maple syrup, along with some Worcestershire, to brighten it up. I suspect the quality of the chicken livers has something to do with it – mine were regular supermarket fare. Also, I found the flavour developed much more the second day.

    One question though – How did you get this such a beautiful deep brown colour? Mine is a paler, much less attractive tone. I wonder again if it’s because of the industrial livers that I used, or did I just succumb to some expert tricks of lighting and filters?!

    • January 14, 2013 1:11am
      David Lebovitz

      Sometimes you do need to add a touch of something. I added the bit of liquor (and jelly) that wasn’t in the original recipe. Mine did come out this color. I don’t do a lot of editing of photos, mostly because I don’t know how to use all that software. But because I shoot at different times of the day, especially when showing process shots, I’ll often have to adjust the lightly so the pictures match each other so they don’t look too discordant.

  • Katie
    January 13, 2013 10:11pm

    I don’t buy a lot of cookbooks, mostly because… well, that’s what the Internet’s for, isn’t it? But I love roast chicken and chicken fat, and if I see Schmaltz in print format (or ever get around to buying an iPad) I will probably buy it in a heartbeat.

  • Karen Soulodre
    January 13, 2013 10:16pm

    David… pate, planning to make your recipe this week. I am married to a French Canadian who introduced me to their culinary world…creton and so many pates.
    2012 was an emotionally tough year, I looked forward to your posts to brighten my day.
    You are a guilty pleasure and a blessing in my life. Thank you for your brilliant writing and taking us on your culinary ride. Merci beaucoup et bonne annee

  • june2
    January 14, 2013 12:05am

    Two things:
    Use organic livers because industrial chicken livers are full of toxins from all the drugs they’re given, and we don’t need to ingest those! And, about making the pate smooth – the reason Ruhlman recommends the sieve is because processing it smooth gives liver a gluey flavor and texture that will peel your eyelids back. Found out the hard way.

    • January 14, 2013 1:09am
      David Lebovitz

      Your absolutely right on using organic livers if you can get them. We don’t have easy access to those here – I’ve not seen organic chicken livers, but do buy them from the butcher shop.

  • January 14, 2013 8:10pm

    WOW David…your Patè is fantastic! I try to cook it immediately! Thanks.

  • Christina del Balso
    January 14, 2013 8:32pm

    I made this yesterday with schmaltz that I rendered myself. Loved it on toast with cream cheese this morning as you suggested. I put mine in some small crockery yoghurt jars I collected in Paris and stored in the freezer. YUMMMM I hope that freezing won’t affect the jelly!

  • January 18, 2013 9:29am

    We usually buy a duck and keep a stock of fat for roast potatoes and home-made fries.

    I’ve always meant to try making pate or terrine but never really got round to it. We’re in Vietnam at the moment, they have pate all the time in Banh Mi. It’s great in a baguette with pickles!

  • February 3, 2013 11:47pm

    Dear David,
    for two years now I follow your blog and I had some wonderful evenings with my friends serving them dishes I made after your recipes… A week ago I read just some words on your blog: potatoes cooked in duck fat – that gave a evening full of instant happiness!
    Two days ago I cooked this chicken liver paté and now I have to write a comment: I love you for bringing such heavenly ideas in my home! Thank you so much and may you go straight to heaven one day…
    With the deepest thankfulness,

  • Alex
    February 6, 2013 12:04am

    Hello, I’m from Canada, and we have excellent pates here which, unsurprisingly, mainly come from Quebec province, known as “la belle provence”. The pates are found across the country from local shops to major supermarkets.

    Merci pour votre blog, il est excellent et un blog magnifique!

    You have a nice blog with both delicious recipes and descriptions of Paris. Merci



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