Christmas Pate With Pickled Cherries. A scrumptious starter to serve this Christmas!
1 cup white wine vinegar
¾ cup caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
4 whole cardamom, bruised
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, finely shredded
1 orange, 3 pieces rind
1kg cherries, washed and drained
250g chicken livers
2 cups milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup port
2 tbsp Madeira or sherry
160g butter, at room temperature
3 egg yolks
1 small white square loaf of bread
125g butter, extra
Small sprigs of thyme, to serve
Place vinegar, caster sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom, ginger and orange rind into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cherries and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stand until cooled. Transfer cherries and syrup to sterilised jars. Seal and refrigerate.
Clean livers and place into a bowl. Pour milk over livers, cover with plastic film and refrigerate overnight.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add bay leaves and thyme. Increase heat to medium-high. Add port and Madeira. Simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by 3/4. Remove from heat and cool. Strain, reserving liquid.
Strain livers and pat dry with paper towel. Heat remaining oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add livers and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until seared. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add reserved liquid, butter and egg yolks. Process until a smooth mixture forms. Pass through a fine sieve and spoon into 6 x 1/3-cup capacity moulds or a 2-cup capacity terrine. Place dishes into a large deep roasting pan. Pour boiling water into roasting pan until water comes halfway up the sides of the dishes. Cover pan with foil to seal. Bake for 25-45 minutes (depending on size of dishes) or until set to a firm custard consistency. Cool. When cold, cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Trim crusts from bread. Thinly slice bread and cut slices into quarters forming 4 triangles per slice. Place triangles of bread onto baking trays in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and light golden. Cool. Remove from tray and store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.
Place extra butter into a small saucepan and place over a low heat to melt. Skim froth from top of butter. Slowly pour clear butter from pan leaving milky liquid in base of pan. Discard solids. Cool clear butter. Pour butter over the top of each dish of pâté. Add a small sprig of thyme. Return to the refrigerator to set. Serve pâté with toast and pickled cherries.