Bourbon and Butter Chicken Liver Mousse

Large sauté pan
Food Processor
1-quart jar or four 8 ounce jars


Pat livers dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.


Heat ½ cup of butter (one stick) in a sauté pan over medium heat and sear livers on both sides, just lightly browning, about two minutes per side. Remove the partially cooked.


Add onion to the pan and cook until translucent, about ten minutes.


Return livers to the pan, add bay leaves and garlic. Add bourbon, dry mustard, and pâté spice mix or allspice. Cook until bourbon has reduced by a third and livers are cooked through and still rosy on the inside.


Discard bay leaves and purée liver mixture in a food processor with the remaining cup of butter (two sticks) for five minutes on high. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning.


Pass the liver through a tamis or fine mesh strainer, this will result in a silkier mousse. Transfer into a 1-quart crock or into four 8 ounce jars. Cover with sealed lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to soften the butter. It can be frozen for up to three months.

  • 1 pound of chicken liver; veins, membranes, and connective tissue removed
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into large pieces, divided
  • ¾  cup diced onion
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves (or 1 California bay leaf)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon pâté spice mix or ground allspice
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, melted

Cook's Notes

Incredibly easy to prepare, chicken liver mousse is rich and delicious as a first course or a snack with a glass of wine.  

The high ratio of butter to chicken liver makes this mousse light, silky, and creamy. The hefty addition of bourbon gives sweet spice and makes for a heady finish.

Chardonnay works well, playing off the spice of the bourbon and the texture of the mousse.

Bring out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving or the butter will be too hard. Spread on warm toast or torn soft, country loaf. Cornichons, hard-cooked egg, and capers all would work well as a garnish. My preference is my pickled kumquats and pickled red onions.

The recipe for the pâté spice mix can be found with the recipe for Pork Terrine with Pancetta and Pistachios.

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