Julia Child’s Chicken Liver Mousse

Chicken liver mousse from Julia Child's Art of French Cooking

With visits to the greenmarket growing more frequent as the weather gets better, I’ve enjoyed watching all of the market’s vendors, new and old, come to life. This week was a mass of beautiful flowering branches and tender spring greens.

I went with a small shopping list, but per usual, I couldn’t resist coming home with a few things I wasn’t planning on buying! When I walked by Violet Hill Farm, I couldn’t resist buying two pounds of chicken livers and hearts.

I had a recipe in mind for half of the livers, which you’ll see on Thursday, but for the rest? I made it home and thought for a bit before it occurred to me to make a rich, sumptuous chicken liver mousse that we could snack on the rest of the weekend.

Mousse spread on a baguette

Julia Child’s Chicken Liver Mousse
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

2 c. chicken livers
2 tbsp. minced shallots
2 tbsp. butter
1/3 c. cognac
1/4 c. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. pepper
Pinch of thyme
1/2 c. melted butter
Kosher salt and pepper

1. Remove any greenish or blackish spots from the livers, as well as any sinew. Cut the livers into 1/2″ pieces.
2. Melt butter over medium heat in a sauté pan until foam has subsided. Sauté livers with the shallots in butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until the livers are just stiffened, but still rosy inside. Scrape into the blender jar.
3. Pour the wine or cognac into the pan and boil it down rapidly until it has reduced to 3 tablespoons. Scrape it into the blender jar.
4. Add the cream and seasonings to the blender jar. Cover and blend at top speed for several seconds until the liver is a smooth paste.
5. Add the melted butter and blend several seconds more. Adjust seasoning.
6. Pack into the bowl or jar and chill for 2 to 3 hours.

Cognac Gelée

1/2 c. water, separated
1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. dry vermouth
2 tsp. cognac

1. Place 1/4 c. of warm water in a ramekin, sprinkle unflavored gelatin and let it stand for about 10 minutes.
2. In a small saucepan heat wine and sugar over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
3. Once the gelatin has softened, add the other 1/4 c. of hot water to the ramekin and dissolve until mixture becomes clear. Add the gelatin mixture to the warm wine mixture and mix thoroughly.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add cognac. Let the warm mixture stand until it almost reaches room temperature. 5. Once it has cooled, pour over chilled mousse. Return the mousse to the fridge and chill until the gelée has set.

Homemade chicken liver mousse recipe

Packed in small decorative jars, this mousse would also make a great hostess gift or appetizer at a party. I’d love to use little tiny jars like these for individual servings at a dinner party.

For such a decadent snack, Child’s recipe is really quite simple. We had everything on hand, and with a blender, whipped it up in just a few minutes. The hardest part? Waiting for it to chill so we could dig in!

– Laura

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