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Chicken Liver And Pear Mousse

Chicken Liver And Pear Mousse
Julie O'Hara for NPR /

Pears and pear brandy draw out the sweetness from rich, meaty chicken livers. Serve as a spread or dip, or use a pastry bag to pipe swirls of mousse onto crackers, mini phyllo shells or apple slices. You can experiment with different herbs, spices or liqueurs.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup finely chopped semi-firm pear

1/2 cup chopped shallot

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of any fat and halved

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons brandy

2 tablespoons pear brandy, such as Belle de Brillet (regular brandy may be substituted)

1 cup cold whipping cream

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low. Add the pear, onion and shallot, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until pear is tender. Move shallot and pear to the sides of the skillet and place the livers in the center. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until firm but still pink in the center, turning once or twice. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Add liver mixture to a food processor. Add the thyme, brandy and pear brandy. Process until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Cover and refrigerate 45 minutes or until chilled.

Add whipping cream to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until medium-stiff peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the liver mixture in 4 additions, taking care not to overmix and reduce the cream's volume. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to mason jars, ramekins or other serving dish. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve chilled. Mousse will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

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