French cuisine can seem daunting for the home cook, but it needn’t be. The number of ingredients might add up, yet the flavor alone has a high return on investment. Thankfully, Executive Chef Walter Edward and the team at The Lakehouse take a French country classic and put a Northwest spin on it, like many of the dishes at the posh new restaurant in Bellevue, Washington. This recipe for chicken liver pâté is doubly enhanced by local booze: both in the cooking and the icing on top.
“Washington Riesling brings a wonderful level of sweetness with a bit of acidity to balance the aggressive flavor of the liver,” Edward says of his deglazing wine of choice. “Woodinville Whiskey [in the gelée] once again brings balance but this time with contrast, not reducing out the alcohol from it, really gives a counter to the richness of the pâté.”
The traditional dish — which has both French and Belgian roots — can certainly be rich on its own, but the chef says both beverages bring additional layers of flavor to the dish. “There is so much to well-crafted booze and so many layers to build on, they can add complexity in a way that few other ingredients can bring,” Edward adds.
The chef also suggests grabbing a bottle of Savage Grace‘s 2015 Riesling — a single site bottling from Underwood Mountain Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge — to cook and pair with his unctuous pâté.
Chicken Liver Pâté, Woodinville Whiskey Gelée and Crostini
Recipe by Executive Chef Walter Edward
1 pound chicken liver
1 1/2 cups milk
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 shallot, sliced
1 head garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 pinch nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 cup Riesling
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes
1 package dry gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup Woodinville Whiskey Co. whiskey
1 tablespoon honey
1 baguette, sliced
Soak the livers in milk overnight to remove impurities. When ready, strain the livers and discard milk.
Render the bacon in large saute pan over medium heat. When the bacon is crispy and all fat is released add the liver, shallot and garlic to pan. Cook until the liver is browned on both sides, shallot and garlic are softened.
Add the thyme, lemon zest, salt and spices. Pour the white wine into pan and allow alcohol to reduce out and scrape bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.
Put the contents of the pan into a blender while still warm and blend until smooth. Add the cubed butter and blend until homogeneous. Pour into 6 small mason jars or glasses.
Put the gelatin into water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Put the whiskey and honey into a small sauce pan and melt together over medium heat. Pour the bloomed gelatin into the whiskey mixture and stir until clear and homogeneous.
Pour whiskey gelee over pate and allow to cool in refrigerator. Serve with toasted, sliced baguette.