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‘I Can’t Believe it’s Liver!’ Duck Liver, Thyme and Orange Pâté

Duck Liver Pate

Duck Liver Pate

I was chatting with The Bacon Mum after our recent Autoimmune Connection session and she mentioned one of her secret-squirrel tips for travelling on a restricted diet was to freeze individual portions of liver pâté and then have them on hand for breakfast with slices of apple… Genius!

I know eating organ meats of any description can be one of the biggest hurdles for anyone embarking on an AIP caper. For many, there’s often something off-putting about offal. In fact, in an effort to get his head around the subject, my good mate, Rory over at The Paleo PI has created an Offal Rating Scale

Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine. (James Joyce, Ulysses)

I grew up eating my Mum’s chicken liver pâté. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that her chicken liver pâté might even be the most requested dish in her recipe repertoire. Within our family, at least. It’s SO good!

Just writing about it makes me wish I was sitting in the kitchen in Auckland with my Mum eating her pâté…

But I’m not. Sadly. And, when we were growing up, I don’t think even my Mum knew just what a favour she was doing for us. Liver is such a nutrient dense food.

Want to know just how nutrient-dense? According to the good peeps over at Weston A. Price: – 

Liver contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. It provides:

– An excellent source of high-quality protein
– Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
– All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
– One of our best sources of folic acid
– A highly usable form of iron
– Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
– An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
– CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
– A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.

So, if you take away nothing else from this post, it should be this:

Eat. More. Liver.

And, if you find the idea of eating liver a challenge, I think pâté is probably one of the best ways to ease your way into it.

And, it’s even easier when you use poultry livers (from happy birds, of course!) Duck and chook livers are creamier and more subtle in flavour than those from lamb or beef. Especially with the addition of a little enhancement by way of citrus or even alcohol*…

Instead of chicken livers (à la my Mum), I picked up some gorgeous duck livers from Feather and Bone. The ducks from whence these livers came were pasture raised at Jum Jum Farm. Very happy ducks!

Here at Casa TSL, we’re continuing with our reintroductions, so this number has butter in the recipe, which is traditional for liver pâté. I used some lovely Pepe Saya cultured butter in mine. SO good, but it is entirely possible to make a very good pâté without any dairy – just substitute the butter for lard, coconut oil or – even better – duck fat! 


Duck Liver Pate

Unsure how to eat your pâté when you are off bread? – Easy, tastes great with fresh apple slices or try it with carrot and celery sticks. Or, smear some on cucumber slices.

'I Can't Believe it's Liver!' Duck Liver, Thyme and Orange Pâté
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is a Stage 2 AIP Reintroduction
Serves: 5-6
Recipe type: Starters and Snacks
Serves: 5-6
  • 175g best butter, unsalted
  • 500g fresh duck livers (can substitute chicken livers)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 Tablespoons cognac
  • 60g ghee, melted (optional)
  1. Start by completing your mise en place (which is just a fancy chef word for preparing your ingredients). Clean and trim your duck livers. Peel and finely chop your onion and garlic cloves. Zest and juice your orange.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of your butter until melted and foaming. Add half the duck livers and fry until golden but still pink in the middle. About 2 minutes each side.
  3. Repeat with the second half of duck livers.
  4. Pop the cooked duck livers and all the lovely juices into your food processor.
  5. Heat another tablespoon of butter and add the onion, garlic, fresh thyme, orange juice and zest. Cook on a medium-low heat until the onion is translucent.
  6. Add your cognac. Give the mixture a good stir to release any sticky bits in the bottom of the pan.
  7. Remove and discard the thyme stalks. Add the contents of the flying pan to your food processor along with the remaining butter. Mix thoroughly. I scrape the sides of my food processor and mix again to ensure a smooth consistency.
  8. Taste for seasoning. Hold yourself back from eating too much! Spoon into ramekins and refrigerate.
  9. Optional - If you are serving at a dinner party or want to be fancy-schmancy, cover the top of your pâté with a little melted clarified butter/ghee. It'll look great and it will last a little longer, too.

* the alcohol is cooked off

E N J O Y !

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Comments (20)

Thanks for the shout-out TSL! And thanks for serving up yet another mouth-watering recipe 🙂

PI – are you on butter yet? You could so make this baby. You could sub the alcohol for verjuice. Too easy!

Sensational recipe! I love your post as well 🙂

Sophie! How are you? Small confession – I stood at the bench eating spoonfuls after it was made. SO good! 🙂

Wonderful post…. I like it…the recipe and the reason why this is good for us….thank you so much for your posts…. I just found out I was allergic to so soooo many things… More and more…But as soon as I am fixed with all that….I will try your recipe!!!

Hey France – sorry to hear about your food intolerances. How were you tested? Are you now on a gut healing ‘protocol’?

Healing my gut has been central to my healing process. If there’s anything I can do, give me a holler.

Oops my message left way too soon!
So I was tested in that clinic, they use kinesiology…, which at first….Years ago, I needed to be convinced….but I used it in my practice…and it is a wonderful tool!
I went to that clinic without saying about my blood Melissa test, and she confirmed with her kinesiology test without knowing….
So yes…I am following….but was already…a specific Paleo diet which helped a lot….that test helped me to focus on food I should really avoid….like meat….rice, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, ….vitamins and minerals…glutamate….wow so many!!!

Best of luck, France. And yes – everything counts (including our thoughts). Sending happy thoughts your way…

Thank you so much….yes, thoughts and smiles…and laugh ( even if it is triggering crises…I do a lot of that

Freezing individual portions of liver pâté for an on-the-road breakfast with sliced apple… genius! And putting orange in the pâté… inspired. And I agree about duck liver. it’s just the best~.

That Emma is clever! 🙂

…and this tastes so good, I doubt it will last long enough for on-the-road breakfasts!

I too love liver and often freeze small portions of pate. Interesting to see you adding orange – I will try that next time!

I eat my liver as either Brunschweiger or Liverwurst, but this recipe seems so easy that I might be brave and try it.
Can you please explain how to clean and trim the liver? Does it need to be soaked first? Thanks!

Lizzie – give it a go! You’ll be surprised how good it tastes (and I’m a sucker for liverwurst, too – with my German Mum)

I have never really soaked my liver – poultry or lamb. But, I always make sure it is SUPER fresh. I wash the liver under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Poultry livers should look shiny. Your butcher will usually have removed any gall bladder attached to the liver, but I tend to slice any stringy loose bits.

I hope you enjoy the pate! Do let me know?

Thanks for the help, I appreciate the response! Now I just need to find some liver.

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