Chicken Liver Mousse: A great little indulgence that brings 'a night out' vibes to your next night in

This recipe from Peter Sanagan is special enough for any occasion but so simple to make too.

This recipe from Peter Sanagan is special enough for any occasion but so simple to make too

(Photography by Peter Chou)

This Chicken Liver Mousse is just the thing if you're looking to 'whip up something special’ for an occasion. From the pages of Peter Sanagan’s new cookbook, Cooking Meat: A Butcher's Guide to Choosing, Buying, Cutting, Cooking, and Eating Meat, this “meat butter” — as he lovingly calls it — is simple to prepare. A great little indulgence for a ‘night out’ vibe when you’re staying in. 

Chicken Liver Mousse

By Peter Sanagan

Chicken liver mousse is delicious. I think of it like meat butter, and if I owned a restaurant, I would serve liver mousse with bread before a meal. Hopefully, you enjoy butter as much as I do, as there is a ton of it in this recipe. Serve this mousse with some gherkins and crusty French bread.

Note: I prefer to pot my mousse in little jars and top it with melted chicken fat so it doesn’t oxidize. Prepared this way, it makes a great host gift! Alternatively, you can set the mousse in a small 16 ounce terrine mold.


  • 1 pound chicken livers
  • ½ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold butter, diced + 1 Tbsp butter for cooking
  • 1 cup minced shallots 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chopped thyme 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp ground espelette pepper or paprika
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ¼ cup rendered chicken schmaltz or duck fat


Clean the livers by trimming them of any visible fat, green bits (which would be from the connected gall bladder), or excess membrane. Place the livers in a bowl, cover with the milk, and allow to soak for 1 hour. Discard the milk, rinse the livers well, and dry them completely using a towel. Remove as much moisture as possible so they fry well.

Season the livers liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add half the livers to the pan and cook until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked livers to a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining livers. Turn down the heat to medium.

Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in the pan, then add the shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and espelette pepper (or paprika) and sweat until the shallots are translucent. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping all the bits off the bottom of the pan, and cook until the brandy is reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place the chicken livers and shallot mixture in a blender and purée on high speed. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of cold butter, stirring until fully emulsified. Season, if needed. Strain the purée through a fine- mesh sieve into a clean measuring jug.

Have ready four sterilized 1-cup jars with lids. Melt the schmaltz (or duck fat) in a pot over low heat.

Fill each jar three-quarters full with liver mixture, then spoon 1 Tbsp of the hot fat over each mousse to prevent it from oxidizing. Tightly seal the lids and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop. The mousse will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: Makes about four 1-cup jars

Excerpted from Cooking Meat: A Butcher's Guide to Choosing, Buying, Cutting, Cooking, and Eating Meat by Peter Sanagan. Copyright © 2020 Peter Sanagan. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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