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Chicken Liver Parfait with Bourbon-Brown Butter Pound Cake Recipe


Chef R.J. Cooper at Rogue 24 makes a rich and aromatic bourbon-brown butter pound cake to serve with his chicken liver parfait. 


For the chicken liver parfait:

  • 3 ½ tablespoons shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons port
  • 3 tablespoons Madeira wine
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 10 ½ ounces unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 14 ½ ounces chicken livers (about 1 ¾ cups)

For the pound cake:

  • 10 ounces unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
  • 4 ounces good bourbon (about ½ cup)
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour, not self-rising, sift before measuring
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the syrup:

  • 4 ounces sugar (about ½ cup)
  • 4 ounces water (about ½ cup)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split


For the chicken liver parfait:

Finely chop the shallot and garlic and place them into a small saucepan with the thyme, bay leaf, port, Madeira wine, and brandy. Season this plentifully with salt and pepper. (This will be the seasoning for the whole parfait, so you may need more than you think.)

Boil the mixture over hight heat until it has reduced by half. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and tip the rest of the reduction into a mixing bowl.

Heat the butter in a small pan over low heat or in the microwave until it has just melted (it should be warm but not hot) and then pour it into the same bowl as the reduction. Add the eggs and the cleaned livers. Ideally you want everything to be at the same temperature, otherwise it may split when blended.

Heat the oven to 248 degrees.

Blend the mixture using either a hand blender or counter top blender. You want the mixture smooth but don’t want to over blend it, otherwise there will be too much air in the mixture which can cause it to crumble when cooked. Pour the blended mixture into a fine sieve and push it through with the back of a ladle or spoon into a bowl.

Grease a terrine mold (or any other suitable, oven-proof dish) and line it with cling-film/plastic-wrap. Then pour the liver mixture into the mold.

Put a piece of tin foil over the top of the terrine or dish tight enough so that it isn’t touching the liver mixture. If the terrine has a lid, place it on top as well.

Put the dish into a roasting tin, put the tin on the middle shelf of the oven and pour hot water into the tin so the level of water comes half way up the sides of the terrine mold.

Cook the parfait for 1 hour. Test it by inserting a temperature probe into the middle of the terrine. If the temperature has not reached 163 degrees, place it back into the oven for another 10 minutes and check again. If you do not have a temperature probe you can check the parfait by giving the terrine a little shake. It should have a slight wobble in the middle when it is ready.

When the parfait is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool in the dish until it has reached room temperature. Place the parfait into the fridge to set, ideally over night.

The next day, turn out the terrine mold by using the cling film and ease it out onto a chopping board for slicing.

Use a thin sharp knife to slice the parfait. If you want clean slices, dunk the knife blade into a pot of hot water after each cut and wipe it clean on kitchen paper.

For the pound cake:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in middle. Butter and lightly flour an 8 ½-by-4 ½-inch loaf pan.

Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until the milk of the butter solidifies on the bottom of the skillet and they become chocolate brown in color. Transfer to a shallow bowl, add the bourbon, and chill in the freezer until just congealed, about 15 minutes.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat together brown butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated.

For the syrup:

Over medium heat in a small sauce pot, simmer the sugar, water, and vanilla bean together until it’s thick. Take off the heat, let cool for 5 minutes, and add some into the bourbon and butter mixture. Stir.

Transfer the batter into the pan. Smooth the top and rap the pan on the counter to settle the batter and ensure it is evenly spread. Bake until golden-brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1-1 ¼ hours. Cool in pan 30 minutes, then invert cake onto a rack and cool completely, right side up, 1 hour. Brush the pound cake with the remaining syrup every 5 minutes.