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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Adventures with Bison Liver: Mushroom and Liver Pate

A dear friend of mine has an unusual perk at her place of employment: access to bison meat. Because I have room in my freezer, I have a bit of it stashed in my chest freezer, including a heart and a tongue. The liver was in there too, but I saw a recipe for a wild mushroom-liver paté and I had to break into the liver. I had picked some wild mushrooms (don't worry - you don't need to pick your own wild mushrooms to make this) which would be perfect for mushroom-liver paté. I've never used bison liver but how different could it be from beef liver? Actually, it's even better than beef or calves liver,  mild and sweet. Now, I don't expect you to find a bison liver either. This recipe will work with any type of liver, including chicken livers. The mushrooms mellow the liver-y flavor. It's rich and delicious. The recipe makes quite a bit, so it's best made for a party. Unless you plan on eating it on everything. I'll be posting a recipe I created to use up some of this paté soon.

Mushroom and Liver Paté
(makes about 2 cups)

½ pound butter, room temperature
½ pound portobello or cremini mushrooms
1 bunch of green onions, white part only, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
⅔ cup dry white wine
1 pound liver, cut in 1" chunks (see Note)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

In a large skillet, melt ¼ pound butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms with onions and garlic until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add wine, liver, and seasonings. Cook until liquid is reduce by ½, about 15 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Put into a food processor with the rest of the butter and process until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Pack into a container with a tightly fitting lid and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve on toast or crackers.

Note: If using a liver from a mature animal, you need to clean out the blood vessels running through it. They are like rubber bands and will result in chewy bits in your paté. Not good.