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Buttered and Bourbon’d Chicken Liver Mousse

Incredibly easy to prepare, chicken liver mousse is rich and delicious as a first course or a snack with a glass of wine. I’m thinking rosé but our red blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon would work equally well.

The high ratio of butter to chicken livers gives this mousse a lightness, silkiness, and creaminess. The hefty addition of bourbon gives sweet spice notes from the heavily charred American oak and makes for a heady finish.

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, capers, and minced or pickled red onion all would work well as a garnish.

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



Paper towels
Sauté pan
Food processor
Tamis (optional)
1-quart crock or four 8-ounce jars


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, 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 of pâté spice mix or ground allspice

How To Make

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 livers.
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 (optional, will result in a silkier mousse).
Transfer into a 1-quart crock or into four 8 oz 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.