Chicken liver pâté recipe

A chicken liver pâté recipe for caterers that's free from the bacteria campylobacter.

This method can be printed out and should be used with our Safer food better business pack and control of cross-contamination guidance.


  • 450g (1lb) of chicken livers (pre-frozen and then thawed)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 15g (½oz) of boiled beetroot
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 120g of shallots
  • 568ml (1 pint) of milk
  • 568 ml (1 pint) of vinegar (some vinegars contain sulphites)
  • 50ml (2 fluid oz) of brandy or Cognac
  • 5 medium-sized eggs
  • 450g of spreadable butter (milk)
  • salt and pepper

Allergens: milk, egg, sulphites


  • large ovenproof bowl
  • fine mesh sieve (2mm hole size or finer)
  • pan
  • food processor
  • Bain Marie
  • temperature probe
  • blowtorch (or gas ring)
  • foil
  • greaseproof paper
  • terrine (1 litre volume)
  • chopping board
  • pastry brush
  • Harmful campylobacter bacteria can grow throughout poultry liver, not just on the surface.

    How to make your pâté

    Preparing the ingredients

    1. Bruise two sprigs of thyme and tear a bay leaf into pieces and add them to a large ovenproof bowl. Crush one clove of garlic and roughly chop 50g of shallots and also add those to the bowl.

    2. Add 15g (½oz) of salt and the 568ml of milk to the bowl and stir until the salt has dissolved. Place the livers into the milk and transfer to a refrigerator to soak in the milk and herbs for at least one hour.

    Livers soaking in milk under refrigeration

    3. Using a sieve, separate the milk from the livers and allow the livers to drain before rinsing them under a running tap to remove the last traces of milk.

    4. Return the livers to the cleaned bowl. Pour all of the vinegar onto the livers and allow them to soak for two minutes with occasional mixing. Using a sieve, pour the vinegar off, and allow the livers to drain inside the sieve.

    5. Pre-heat the oven to 130°C.

    Livers after soaking in milk before rinsing in tap water

    6. Peel and chop the remaining garlic and shallots. Melt 30g (1oz) of butter in a pan and add the garlic, shallots and the leaves from two sprigs of thyme. Cook for two or three minutes until the shallots soften and begin to turn brown. Transfer the contents of the pan to the food processor.

    Cooked onions

    7. Add 400g of butter to the pan and set it on a low heat to melt the butter.

    Melt, but do not burn the butter

    8. Wash the ovenproof bowl thoroughly, and return the livers to it. Add the Cognac and mix the livers around to coat their surfaces with the alcohol before carefully igniting the bowl contents using a blowtorch or the heat from a gas ring. After ignition, the remaining Cognac adds flavour to the livers.

    Rinse and drain the livers before adding the brandy and igniting
    Poultry liver must be handled hygienically to avoid cross-contamination and safely cooked.

    Blending the ingredients

    9. Transfer the livers and the beetroot into the food processor containing the softened shallots and herbs and blend. Add the five eggs, one at a time, over a period of five minutes whilst continuously blending.

    10. Add two teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper to the blending livers.

    11. Gradually add the 400g of melted butter to the processor over two or three minutes whilst blending continuously. If the butter is added too quickly, the fat may congeal and not disperse evenly through the blended livers.

    Cooked and prepared ingredients prior to blending

    12. Line the base and sides of the terrine with greaseproof paper. Leave an overlap of paper of a little larger than the width of the terrine.

    13. Transfer the blender contents into a fine mesh sieve and using the back of a ladle, push the livers through the sieve into the bowl. Connective tissue and sinew will be left behind in the sieve. Dispose of any remnants carefully.


    14. Pour the bowl contents into the paper-lined terrine and fold the trailing end of greaseproof paper over the top of the pâté. Place the terrine inside a roasting tray and place into the pre-heated oven. Fill the tray with boiling water to ¾ of the height of the terrine. It is important the water is boiling.

    A lined terrine filled with uncooked pâté

    15. Cover the roasting tray with a piece of loosely-wrapped aluminium foil.

    16. Cook for 45 minutes then measure the temperature in the centre of the pâté using a temperature probe. If the temperature is hotter than 68°C, then the pâté is cooked and can be removed from the oven. If the centre is lower than 68°C, then return the pâté to the oven until the temperature in the centre hits 68°C.

    Cooling and storing

    17. Remove the pâté from the Bain Marie and leave it to cool at room temperature for an hour before refrigerating overnight to harden the butter and firm up the pâté.

    Pâté being cooked in a Bain Marie of boiling water

    18. Remove the greaseproof paper from the top of the pâté and place the terrine in a tray of boiling water for two minutes. After two minutes, the pâté can be carefully lifted out of the terrine using the paper lining and placed on a chopping board.

    19. The greaseproof paper can be removed by careful peeling.

    A check of the temperature in the core of the pâté is important to make sure it is properly

    20. The remaining butter should be melted with the leaves from the remaining thyme and some roughly crushed black peppers. A pastry brush should be used to coat the pâté with a thin coating of the infused butter. The butter coating prevents the surface of the pâté from discolouring.

    21. The pâté can be stored in a refrigerator for two days or frozen.

    Pâté that is cooked under controlled conditions in a Bain Marie to 68oC is pink inside and does not contain any campylobacter bacteria that can cause foodborne illness