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Faux Gras with Shitake and Cognac

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Servings:       Prep Time:       Cook Time:

Inspired by Happy in the Kitchen. You can make this up to 3 days before serving. You'll need several hours to chill and set the pate, so its best to do it the evening before or early in the day. Makes 4 small 1-cup ramekins or 1 terrine.


The Pate
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature (16oz)
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, smushed with a garlic press or grated with microplane grater
1/2 cup heavy cream 1 pound chicken livers, rinsed and any dark spots removed (I also remove the stringy connective membrane)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 2 teaspoons kosher salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely diced shitake mushrooms (1/4" cube or smaller)
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley 2 tablespoons CognacThe Parsley Gelee
1/2 English cucumber cut into 2" pieces
1 teaspoon gelatin
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt
1-2 drops Tabasco sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

1. Saute the Mushrooms: In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the shitake mushrooms and saute for 1 minute, until soft and cooked through. Add chopped parsley. Add Cognac and let simmer for 30 seconds. Remove mixture to a bowl and set aside.

2. Cook the Onion: Wash the saucepan and put back on stove. Add 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat. When the butter starts bubbling, turn the heat down to low and add the onions. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be soft and translucent. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Saute until garlic is fragrant. Add the cream and bring to simmer. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add all of the remaining butter. Stir until melted. Turn off the heat.

3. Puree the Liver: Put livers in a blender. Pulse a few times until the liver becomes a little smoother. Add the onion mixture. Puree on high for 2 minutes until the mousse becomes pale color and totally smooth. Strain the mixture, using the back of a spoon to push through. You should have about 3 cups strained mousse. If you don't have that much, put the solids back in the blender and puree again.

4. Bake the Pate: Add the shitake/cognac mixture into the strained mixture. Stir to incorporate the mushrooms evenly throughout the mousse. Pour into 4 1-cup ramekin dishes. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a large deep baking dish. Make sure the bowls don't touch each other. Carefully pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate to chill. Once it is chilled, you can prepare the gelee.

Now its time to make the Gelee. I did not deviate too much from HiK on this portion.

Parsley Gelee

1. Place cucumber in food processor and process until liquefied. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (or alternatively you can put it in a double thickness cheesecloth and squeeze). You should end up with 1/2 cup of cucumber water.

2. In microwave bowl, combine gelatin and 1/4 cup of cucumber water. Microwave this to just melt the gelatin - but do not allow to boil. Stir. Add lemon juice, sugar, salt and Tabasco and the remaining cucumber water into the bowl. Add the parsley, a tablespoon at a time until the gelee is dense with parsley but the green of the cucumber water is still visable.

3. Remove Faux Gras from refrigerator. Spoon 2 tablespoons of gelee on top of each ramekin. Refrigerator until gelee is set, about 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. The Gelee adds a beautiful green contrast to the pate and serves to keep air from touching the Faux Gras (which would oxidize and turn the pate grayish).