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Today I give to you the recipe for the rich, smooth, and creamy chicken liver mousse that Jacques demonstrated on the Jacques Pépin Cooks for Eight taping this past Sunday.  Here is a little of what he has to say about it.

“Unlike most mousses and pâtes, which become watery and grainy when frozen, this one freezes perfectly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before freezing. Small soufflé dishes are ideal for freezing because they can be defrosted in a couple of hours. If you use a large dish, you’ll need to defrost it slowly under refrigeration for 24 hours before serving.”

So, of course, I followed the master’s advice and made six little ramekins to freeze for later entertaining purposes. The larger dish that you’ll see decorated, is one that Jacques made on set Sunday which I brought home to finish. It was served last evening as an appetizer at my father’s birthday dinner. Happy Birthday, Dad! xoxo

Jacques Pépin‘s Chicken Liver Mousse

1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of all fat and sinew
2/3 cup peeled and thinly sliced onion
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup homemade chicken broth
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cognac
Decoration and Glaze
Green from 1 scallion
A piece of tomato and or red, yellow, and or orange bell pepper skin
1 envelope gelatin (such as Knox)

Put the livers, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, broth, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and cook at a bare simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the solids to a food processor. Process the mixture for 30 seconds, then let it cool for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid through a paper towel-lined strainer and reserve to make the aspic; you need 1 cup, set aside.

With the motor running, add the butter piece by piece, blending well.

Add the remaining teaspoon of salt, pepper, and cognac and process for another minute, or until the mixture is very smooth and creamy.

Pour into a soufflé dish or five or six small ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set, for 4 to 6 hours, or as long as overnight. May be frozen for future use (left undecorated) at this point.

Decoration and Glaze: Blanch the scallion green in boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds, until it wilts, then drain in a sieve and cool under cold water. (Blanching makes the green pliable and flattens it, and the cold water sets the color.)

Lay the scallion green on a work surface and pat dry with paper towels. Cut some thin, pointed strips to make stems. Arrange them on top of the mousse and set them by pressing on them with the tip of your fingers or the point of a knife.

Cut small pieces of tomato and/or bell pepper skin with jagged edges for flowers and place them at the ends of the stems. Use smaller trimmings to make wildflowers. Refrigerate the mousse while you prepare the aspic.

Combine the strained liquid from the liver and the gelatin in a saucepan and stir gently over low heat until the mixture almost comes to a boil and the gelatin is completely melted. Pour into a small bowl or measuring cup and place in a bowl of ice and stir until the liquid becomes very syrupy.

The aspic should be shiny and glistening and about to set; this is the right moment to use it.

If it becomes too firm, as shown above, re-melt it and cool in ice bath again.

Pour  3 or 4 tablespoons of aspic on top of the mousse; the layer of aspic should be approximately 1/4 inch thick. The aspic gives the effect of a beautiful stained-glass window. Refrigerate until the aspic is set.

Serve with toasted baguette rounds or crackers.

Serves about 16 to 20 people as an hors d’oeuvre

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