January 03, 2010

So long to the holidays...

Abundance of food;
indulgence matches desire...
the scale rests heavy

As I say goodbye to the parties, the gifts, the exuberant spirits and sagging tables, I say a fond farewell to the season’s offerings with my haiku homage to festive feasts.

…And pay tribute to one of my favourite dishes of the season, courtesy of the New York Times. Double it up, spread it over several evenings replete with crusty French bread, and, as Florence Fabricant suggests, “pour an earthy, rustic red from the sprawl of the Languedoc, many of them balancing fruit and tight minerals without making huge demands on the wallet.”

Spiced Chicken Liver Mousse
Serves several as an appetiser; or two with nothing else to eat for dinner and a healthy regard for the joys of rich food cut to the quick with gorgeous red wine*

6 to 8 tablespoons chicken or duck fat, or clarified butter
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pound chicken livers, connective tissue removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 inch long piece fresh ginger, peeled and slivered
1/4 cup amontillado sherry
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. Melt 3 tablespoons fat in a 12-inch skillet. Add mustard, cardamom and cumin and sauté until spices sizzle and are fragrant. Add livers and sauté over medium-low heat, turning, until cooked but still pink inside, about 10 minutes. Remove livers from pan.

2. Add 2 tablespoons fat, onion and ginger to skillet and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add sherry, simmer about 5 minutes until somewhat reduced, stir in cream and cook until it starts to thicken. Transfer livers and contents of skillet to food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon mousse into a crock or bowl and smooth the top. Melt 2 tablespoons remaining fat and pour onto surface of mousse. Use an additional tablespoon of fat if needed to cover the surface. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Scrape fat off before serving, or mix it into mousse.

Yield: About 2 cups.

*based on a true story