This recipe comes from my mother, whose famed chicken liver pâté is always the attraction at many Sunday lunches. For my cookbook, I tweaked the original ingredients slightly to include dune sage, a fragrant member of the Salvia family that grows indigenously along the West Coast. Regular sage, thyme, rosemary or wild rosemary (kapokbos) also pairs perfectly with chicken livers – as does Noble Hill’s Cruxes Mataro Nova – a delightfully different wine whose red fruit bouquet and gentle carbonation make it an ideal counterpart against the richness of the pâté.
Probably unlike any red wine you’ve ever had, Cruxes Mataro undergoes carbonic maceration which yields up a very fresh and bright, light red wine. Zero contact with wooden barrels means that the wine is released very young. Best enjoyed chilled, Cruxes Mataro Nova’s gentle carbonation is a natural occurrence, leaving a pleasant fizz on the tongue. New to the Franschhoek-based estate, the style of winemaking that birthed Cruxes Mataro Nova was made famous in Beaujolais, a small Burgundian village. Originally, part of the Noble Hill farm used to be called Southern Cross, named after the Crux constellation. The estate decided to mark this chapter in it’s history with a special carbonic-macerated, naturally-fermented wine intended for early release.
Being an unfiltered wine, Cruxes Mataro Nova has a bright ruby hue that can be softened by naturally occurring sediment so it might be a bit turbid. However, this is the way it’s intended. Especially when served alongside my favourite chicken liver pâté.
My Favourite Chicken Liver Pâté
Prep time: 10 mins /Cook time: 2 hours including chilling /Serves: 6
- 500g organic chicken livers, rinsed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 250g butter, plus extra for sealing
- 20ml fresh cream
- 10ml dry sherry
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3-4 large sprigs of thyme, leave stripped from the stalks
- 1 large sprig rosemary or wild rosemary (kapokbos), leaves stripped from the stalks
- Salt and pepper
Melt half of the butter in a large frying pan. Fry the onion until soft then brown the chicken livers. Season with salt and pepper and deglaze the pan with sherry. Reduce the heat and add in the remaining butter along with the sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Simmer the livers in the butter until cooked through. Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature and remove the sage. Pour the mixture into a blender and add in the garlic clove and the cream. Blitz until smooth then pour into a serving dish and refrigerate until firm. Melt a little extra butter and gently pour over the top of the pâté to form a seal. Place one or two rosemary leaves into the butter and refrigerate until firm.
Serve the pâté with fresh bread, water biscuits and a glass or two of Cruxes Mataro Nova.