Julie's chicken liver pate and melba toasts

Whip up this starter in next to no time. It's perfect for special occasions and parties.

Serves 6

Prep: 10 minutes, plus chilling timeCook: 10 minutes


425g butter, melted1 tbsp olive oil1 onion, chopped2 cloves garlic, chopped125g streaky bacon, chopped500g chicken livers1 wine glass of brandy1 tbsp fresh tarragon, choppedSalt and pepperExtra tarragon or sage leaves to garnish (optional)Sliced bread of your choice for Melba toast, for serving


  • Preheat oven to 110C/gas ¼ .

  • Melt 175g of the butter in an ovenproof bowl in the oven until separated. Strain off clarified butter and set aside. (You can also do this on a very low heat on the hob if you want to).

  • Heat a large frying pan, add olive oil and cook the onion, garlic and bacon until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Add chicken livers and cook until lightly browned but still soft. Do not overcook or the livers will become rubbery.

  • Pour in the brandy and light it to burn a little of the alcohol off. Do not let the flame burn too long, just blow it out once it’s caught fire for a few seconds. Cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat.

  • Put mixture into a food processor or liquidiser and mix until smooth.

  • Add the remaining butter and season to taste. Blitz to mix.

  • Leave as it is, or if you prefer a smoother pate press the mixture through a sieve, stir in tarragon and transfer into individual pots. Top with the clarified butter and a tarragon or sage leaf if liked.

  • Leave to set for at least an hour in the fridge.

  • To make melba toast: Lightly toast the bread, remove the crusts and slice the bread horizontally, to divide bread into two thin slices. Gently rub the soft untoasted side of the bread across the board to rub of the soft centre and make the bread as thin as possible. Cut each slice diagonally to make two triangles. Place untoasted side up on a baking sheet and bake at 180C/gas 4 for 4-6 minutes until the bread curls up. Serve with the pate.


Clarifying butter removes the water from the butter, you can also use ghee instead.