Faux gras. Not.

I saw this on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, and figured why not. Instead of foie gras (fat duck or goose liver), they made it out of chicken livers. Basically, the concept is enrich chicken livers with a creamy stock and ton of butter. Why not, if you can get chicken livers for cheap? Don’t you have a bait store close by? Or Bi-Lo?

Faux gras
1 lb of chicken livers, cleaned of sinew
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of diced onion
1 garlic clove
pepper (white if you have it)

From Drop Box

Take your livers and clean them of sinew. There’s a ligament that separates the lobes, not to mention some blood vessels. Don’t stress too much, you’ll strain later, and get most of it out.

Take your onion and with a couple of tbsp of your butter, soften over super low heat. Add the garlic after a couple of minutes with the cream. Keep going another few minutes until you’re sure that the onions are softened, and kill the heat. Adde the butter, and set up a bain marie in the oven at 300 F like you would for creme brulee’.

Bain marie
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Put a tea kettle or pot of water on to boil while you’re doing the other stuff. The purpose here is to use steam heat (gentle and low) and humidity to “set” your mousse or custard, or whatever you’re making. You’ll put your mixture in ramekins in a baking dish, and fill the dish with boiling water until you’ve come about halfway up the ramekins.

Take your livers and the onion/cream mixture and blend until very smooth. Make sure that:
1. You have a cover to your blender AND…
2. That your two year-old doesn’t wander by and turn on the blender.

From Drop Box

Once you’ve got your puree, force it through a sieve (wire mesh strainer) with a ladle or something like that and pour into your ramekins. Cook in the bain marie for about 30 minutes or until it’s set.

From Drop Box

Cool in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

What the recipe doesn’t tell is what the heck to do with it. I tried to make it like regular foie gras, had caramelized some apples and made a sauce out of that. I noticed a little problem with the consistency, and I tried to form what looked like liver slices.

From Drop Box

The result? Good grief. Quite simply some of the worst looking stuff I’ve ever seen or made, and trust me, I’ve seen plenty in my job. Inedible.

From Drop Box

So, we didn’t eat it. And it made a HUGE mess compounded by the toddler that turned on the blender whose lid we had just lost. Not to mention that until you steam it, it’s raw chicken liver. Not exactly the kind of stuff you want all over your kitchen. Where did it go wrong?

1. I didn’t have a complete pound of liver. I only had 10+ oz, because I had made a Jacques Pepin recipe earlier that night that required 5 livers cut in quarters. That’s the main thing I can think of.
2. I watched this again on the website, and Ruth Reichl (the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine) makes it with a more reduced onion/cream mixture. She doesn’t mention that it’s a requisite.
3. Did I use too hot of a skillet? I experimented with various heat combinations, and none of them worked out properly. I also (dummy) used my stainless pan and burned it.

What I wound up making was caramelized apples with an apple reduction sauce.

“Apples and sauce”
1 whole apple, peeled and cored, sliced pretty thin
Sautee in butter until caramelized over medium heat
Deglaze the pan with about a cup of chicken stock
Add apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper
Finish with a little butter to add thickness

Reduce until thick and strain, pour over the apples. Sorry no picture, but it was simple and really good!


2 thoughts on “Faux gras. Not.

  1. That's awesome! My guess it that you should use it as a "pate" and spread over a crusty baguette and serve with some sort of sauteed or stewed fruit. Prunes are tasty… I would have never attempted to fry that stuff, but I give you kudos on the effort!Would recommend ordering a fois from Hudson Valley Farms in NY and having a go with that this Christmas.

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