Ranch House Chicken Liver Pate With Cognac

Total Time
24hrs 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 24 hrs

A ballerina named Carmeleta Maracci offered this recipe to Alan Hooker, founder of the Ranch House Restaurant in Southern California's Ojai Valley. "There are those," Hooker once observed, "who will consider the addition of cream cheese a sacrilege, but it smooths the pâté so beautifully that we disregard the purists." Saveur Magazine, issue #26

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add scallions and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, if using truffle, finely chop all but 4 shavings (reserve these for garnish) and set aside.
  4. Add chicken livers and cook, covered, over medium heat until just cooked through, 5–7 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from heat and stir in salt, mustard, nutmeg, and cloves.
  6. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  7. Continue to process, blending in remaining 4 tablespoons butter, cream cheese, and cognac.
  8. Mix in chopped truffle (if using), then transfer to small bowls or well-oiled molds, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 24 hours.
  9. Serve a generous portion of pâté on a bed of greens with bread, olives, and caper berries, if desired, and garnish with reserved truffle shavings.
  10. Enjoy!
Most Helpful

My mom has been making this since she worked at the Ranch House back in the 1970s, before I was born. I loved it growing up, but am 3000 miles away now, and have to make my own pate! I asked her for the recipe, and she sent me this link, which is identical to hers (although she uses as much Chablis (Chardonnay) as she does cognac). Just made it - looks, smells, and tastes just like my mom's :) it's my favorite pate on Earth, and I'm glad it's here for all to see!

Alyssum April 23, 2011

I made this the other day and let it sit a day and a half before trying. Its a rather unoffensive liver pate and would be good for those new to pate or timid when it comes to liver. The texture was nice and smooth and the liver flavor wasn't too overpowering. I used black truffle-infused sea salt and brandy since they were what I had on hand. The flavor profile from the spices and the cream cheese were not my favorite combination, but it is still a great pate. It goes together easily and is certainly cheap to make. I was able to get a little over a pound of chicken livers at my grocery store for $1.60. Thanks for sharing.

shelteredcreature February 01, 2014

I've been making this recipe since I worked at the Ranch House in the late 60's. It's still one of my favorites. It was served at the restaurant as an appetizer with a wonderful rye bread.

tomaselterrible December 30, 2011