Adapted from a recipe in Gourmet magazine, December 1991.
Makes 1½ pints
1 pound chicken livers
1 pound plus 3 tablespoons European-style butter
3 onions, minced
¼ cup port (we used Retzlaff Vineyards)
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¾ cup fig preserves
In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat, then add the onions and sweat them until they just begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Place the cooked onions into the bowl of a food processor.
Pat the chicken livers dry and sprinkle them with salt. In the same sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter on medium-high, then add the chicken livers and sear them, 1 minute per side, so they just begin to caramelize. Remove them from the pan and add to the food processor, then deglaze the pan with the port and pour this liquid into the food processor as well.
Purée the onions, livers, and port together for about 15 seconds. Through the feeder tube, with the processor still on, add the remaining butter, allspice, salt, lemon juice, and fig preserves, puréeing until smooth. Taste for seasoning. (Don’t worry if the pâté tastes a bit salty now, since it will be perfect when it is served chilled.)
Press the purée though a fine mesh strainer for the smoothest end product. This takes some muscle power but it’s worth it.
Pour the pâté into small ramekins (or other serving jars), topping each jar with 1 tablespoon melted butter to seal and preserve it. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight to set. Serve with toast points or crackers.