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Chicken Liver Patè with Black Mission Figs and Toasted Walnuts

For the patè:
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of fat and nerves
1 cup good-quality chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced white or yellow onion
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon good cognac
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray

For the garnish:
3/4 cup dried Black Mission figs
1 cup dry red wine
1/3 to 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted, then chopped (see note)
1 bunch chive sprigs, for garnish
1 loaf French bread, sliced and toasted, if desired

To make the pate, place livers, chicken stock and onion in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes. Strain and place the solids in the container of a food processor fitted with a metal blade or in a blender. Add butter, salt, and cognac and process or blend until mixture is smooth.

Choose a 2 1/2- to 3-cup terrine or ramekin and line the bottom with waxed paper. Spray sides and waxed paper surface with nonstick spray. Fill container with pate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.

To serve, unmold pate onto a serving plate. Place figs in a bowl. Heat wine until hot and pour over figs. Let sit until figs have softened, 10 to 15 minutes, and then drain. Press toasted walnuts around the edge of pate. Slice the figs and use 2 or 3 slices of those along with several chives to decorate the top of the pate. Garnish pate with bread slices and remaining fig slices and chives. Serves 12.

Note: To toast walnuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on center shelf until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Betty Rosbottom

Thursday, November 30, 2000

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