Prep 24 hrs
Cook 45 mins
Smoking chicken livers adds richness. You can get away with using less butter than you would in a traditional mousse. Pumpernickel melba toasts pair beautifully with the mousse, but you may substitute hearty store-bought crackers. Use cherry, alder or oak wood chips. From the "Smokin" cookbook.
- 1 lb chicken liver
- 2 cups milk
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons wood chips
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, diced very fine (about 2/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons port wine or 2 tablespoons madeira wine or 2 tablespoons sherry wine
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 loaf pumpernickel bread, unsliced day-old, dense-textured
- chopped roasted pistachios, walnuts (optional) or hazelnuts (optional)
- Trim as much fat and connective tissue as possible from livers (you'll find most of both where the two lobes of the liver meet), dropping the livers into a small bowl as you work.
- Pour the milk over them, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.
- Drain the livers and pat them dry as you can with several changes of paper towels. Season all sides of the livers generously with salt and pepper and arrange them side-by-side in a perforated 8 x 11-inch aluminum foil pan.
- Set up the smoker, using the wood chips and smoke the livers over medium heat until just a trace of pink remains in the center and the livers feel slightly springy and not too firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Remove the smoker from heat and let stand, covered, for 5
- minutes. Lift the livers with tongs to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
- While the livers are smoking and cooling, heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat until the butter is foaming. Stir in the onion, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring often, until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Scrape into a small bowl and stir in the port and parsley.
- Grind the livers in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until they are finely chopped.
- Scrape the onion mixture into the processor and add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces. Process until the mousse is smooth but tiny bits of the onion are still visible. Scrape the mixture into a small serving bowl and refrigerate at least one day, or up to three days. Bring the mousse to room temperature at least one hour before serving.
- To make the toasts (up to 4 hours before serving), preheat the oven to 350ºF. If necessary, but the bread so one face of the loaf is no more than about 3 inches across. With a bread knife, cut the trimmed loat into very thin slices with a gentle sawing motion, arranging the slices on a baking sheet as you go. Bake the bread until crisp, about 6 minutes. The edges.
- will probably curl up as the bread toasts, that is fine. Cool the toast to room temperature.
- To serve, scatter the toasted nuts, if using, over the mousse and serve with the pumpernickel melba toasts.