Chicken liver pate with soda bread

Chicken liver pate is made with soda bread fresh from the oven along side a melt in your mouth pate, perfect for a starter at a dinner party
By Clodagh McKenna
Chicken liver pate with soda bread
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 10 as a starter
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 3 hrs chilling
  • Effort: easy


For the chicken liver pate

  • 450 g butter, softened
  • 675 g chicken livers, cleaned
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp thyme, leaves only

For the caramelised onions

  • 20 g butter
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds

For the Irish soda bread

  • 450 g wholemeal flour
  • 450 g plain flour
  • 11/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 600 ml sour milk or buttermilk


1. For the chicken liver pate: melt a knob of the butter in a large frying pan and add the chicken livers. Cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the livers are fully cooked - there should be no trace of redness in the meat but you don't want a crust to form on the livers which would make the pate grainy. Allow to cool then transfer them to a food processor.

2. Add the brandy, garlic and thyme to the frying pan and deglaze by scraping up all the tiny pieces of meat and juices from the livers using a wooden spoon - the bottom of the pan is where the real flavour is! Add the brandy mixture together with the remaining butter to the food processor and blend with the livers until smooth. Leave to cool.

3. For the caramelised onions: melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the onions. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and leave to sweat for about 5 minutes. Then remove the lid, turn up the heat and stir in the mustard seeds. Continue cooking until the onions have softened and become rich and brown in colour. Leave to cool.

4. Blend the caramelised onions into the liver mixture, leaving them quite chunky, then transfer to a large dish and leave to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

5. For the Irish soda bread: preheat the oven to 220C/gas 8.

6. Sieve the flours, soda and salt into a large bowl and make a hollow in the centre. Gradually pour in the buttermilk mixing to form a dough. Pat your hands with flour and shape the dough into one round. Place on a floured baking tray. Flour a large knife and cut the shape of a cross into the top of the dough about two-thirds of the way through, and then stab every quarter with the knife. This old Irish tradition was used to kill the fairies!

7. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, then turn the bread over for a further 5 minutes. To test whether the loaf is cooked, tap the back with your knuckles; it should sound hollow. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

8. Serve the chicken liver pate with the freshly baked bread.

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