Wild Duck Pate

11:30 am on 3 June 2014
A person spreads pate on a piece of bread

Photo: Ksenia Chernaya


  • about 250g of duck livers
  • two shallots or quarter of an onion
  • one large clove or two small cloves of garlic
  • bay leaf
  • brandy
  • block of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • salt and pepper

Wild duck livers are a lot darker and smaller than chicken ones you get from supermarkets so will need about 10 ducks' worth of livers – depending on size of ducks.


Finely chop the shallots or onion and garlic and gently cook in a fry pan with two tablespoons of butter and a splash of cooking oil (to prevent burning) until they go clear and stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove from fry pan but leave juices there. Chop out sinewy veins from livers and discoloured bits then get the pan really hot. Add livers and the bay leaf. Fry for a minute then add a big tablespoon of brandy and it should start reducing or catch fire! Cook til slightly brown and then turn down heat and add the already cooked shallots and another tablespoon of butter. I like to have my livers well-cooked as opposed to the French pink colour. Up to you.

Cook them together gently for about 5 minutes and then leave to cool slightly in the pan.

Add about 150g butter to a blender and throw the liver brew into it with all the juices – MINUS the bay leaf. Add about a quarter of a teaspoon of salt and pepper and get the blender cranked up. When looking smoothish add another tablespoon of brandy (optional). Taste to see if needs more brandy and seasonings. 

Blend until really smooth and then put into a dish, or several smaller ones such as ramekins.  I don’t bother straining it as is messy so just keep the blender going until it starts smoking!

Cover with cracked pepper, or clarified butter. Or just get airtight with glad wrap.

To clarify butter cook about 200g butter over a low heat until fat and milk solids separate. Strain off the clear butter and pour it over the pate. Leave for a few hours, or overnight. Serve with crackers or toast.


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