Some time ago I had the opportunity to work in the kitchen – well, it was more like work experience – at a great establishment called The Lymehurst Hotel in the Lake District under the guidance of Kevin Wyper, a Masterchef of Great Britain.
He made and I ably assisted him in creating the most wonderful and luxurious chicken liver parfait; marinating 3kg of livers in a bottle of port with curry powder and dried chillies. It was completed with copious amounts of butter and cream, real heart attack stuff but boy oh boy was it good. It reminded me of foie gras that I used to enjoy in the Limousin.
Here’s a knockdown version of Kevin’s parfait
500g chicken livers, cleaned
60g finely chopped shallots
2 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
400g warm unsalted butter
Plenty of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to your taste
Soak the livers in port, sprinkle with curry powder and throw in a few dried chillies and leave overnight. Next day remove the livers and pat dry discarding any liquid and the chillies. The livers will have absorbed most of the liquid.
Soften the onion in some butter, add garlic and thyme, colour the livers keeping them pink in the middle, flambé with cognac. Cool a little then add cream, remaining butter and seasoning. And whiz with a hand blender to a smooth paste.
Not far from where I lived in France a sweet white wine is produced in the village of Monbazillac which would go well with the parfait.
And just for the record; while in the UK parfait actually means a very smooth pâté, in France it refers to a frozen dessert. Don’t get confused.