Warm chicken liver mousse with tomato coulis

After perusing one of my favourite cookbooks, I ran across a recipe for liver mousse that I thought would be interesting to try. Now I’m a big fan of David’s liver pâté, but this looked to be an interesting change of pace, seeing as it’s served warm and with a tomato coulis on the side. Also, I liked the idea of creating an individual mousse for each guest at our holiday dinner party.

Recipe

from the Country Cooking of France
Serves 8

8 oz chicken liver
1 garlic clove
4 whole eggs, beaten to mix
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
1-1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp cognac
Large pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Tomato coulis
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3-4 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs
3 tbsp walnut oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon

8 1/2-cup ramekins

Heat the oven to 350 F. Trim membrane and any green spots from the chicken livers. Put the livers and garlic in a food processor and purée until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks and work again until smooth. Add the cream, milk, Cognac, nutmeg, salt and pepper and work until thoroughly mixed, about 30 seconds. Brush each ramekin with oil and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Work the liver mixture through a bowl strainer placed over a large measuring jug, then pour into the ramekins. Put the ramekins in a saucepan and pour in boiling water to make a water bath. Transfer to the oven. Cook them just until firm and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 15 to 18 minutes. Lift the ramekins from the bath and let them cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile make the coulis. Put the tomatoes in a strainer and season with salt and pepper. Leave for 20 minutes to drain excess liquid. Transfer to a saucepan and stir in the herbs, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then warm the coulis over very low heat until tepid. To finish, run a knife around the edge of each ramekin and turn out onto individual plates. Spoon the warm tomato coulis around the edge and top each with an herb sprig.

Musings

A few notes on preparation: In lieu of Cognac, we used Brand as we had it on hand.

All in all, it made for a lovely first course for our holiday dinner. Light and fluffy–the tomato coulis was a nice refreshing complement to the relative earthiness to the liver. As compared to our pâté, the liver flavour was much less potent. In future, I may try to use crème fraîche instead of cream, as it would be a bit stiffer than cream, as well as whole milk as opposed to fat free (which is what we typically have on hand). The mousse was certainly light and airy, but that might provide a bit more substance and body to the mousse. Otherwise, a tasty little dish.

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