This pâté is excellent on its own with a baguette or crackers, or it’s phenomenal as part of a traditional banh mi. The pâté and the sandwich take the best ingredients and techniques from French and Vietnamese cooking to make something greater than the sum of its parts. Clarified butter is traditionally used to cover this type of pâté to prevent the top from oxidizing, but it’s not necessary. Guaranteed to make a liver lover out of pretty much any offal skeptic.
RECIPE BY MARK COCKCROFT
- 1 package of Maui Nui venison liver
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh peeled ginger
- 1 tsp 5 spice powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- 3 Tbsp cognac or brandy
- ½ cup Maui Nui venison broth or low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- Juice from ½ lime
- Clarified butter (optional)
Trim any gristle and other hard bits from the liver and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks; set aside. Trim the lemongrass stalk to the bottom 6 inches, remove the tough outer layer, gently bruise the trimmed piece with the side of a knife or cleaver and cut it into 3 pieces.
Melt butter in a medium sautés pan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and lemongrass pieces. Cook until shallots are soft but not browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two.
Add the liver chunks, 5 spice powder, cinnamon, and white pepper. Cook, stirring often until the liver is almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Cut into a piece to check – it can be a little pink in the center but not raw. Be careful not to dry the livers out.
Off the heat, add the brandy (careful, it can flame up). Return pan to heat and cook until it has mostly cooked off. Add broth and fish sauce and cook for another minute or two. Remove from the heat and discard the lemongrass pieces from the pan.
Carefully pour all of the contents into a blender or food processor and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the cream and lime juice and process until very smooth. Taste and adjust for seasonings, adding a bit more fish sauce (or salt) as necessary.
You can pass the pâté through a fine-mesh sieve if you want an ultra-smooth final result, but I don’t bother. Pour into ramekins or other containers and top with clarified butter if using. Allow setting in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Don’t worry if it looks pretty thin, as it will firm up quite a bit as it cools.
It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Enjoy!