Chicken Liver Mousse with a Riesling Thyme Gelee

I must admit that off the bat, this was not my idea. In fact, I am not really a chicken liver fan. I am however, a big believer in using all the parts of an animal if you are going to eat it, or at least try to. Otherwise you are no better than those people who only eat the good chocolates out of a candy box.

Usually I cook these little gems up and give them to the cats that roam around my house, because they do in deed LOVE them. However, when I received the new Bon Appetit in the mail, this recipe beamed out to me. I HAD to make it. So when mysteriously the issue disappeared from my house (ahem, this to YOU, the person that store that beloved issue of BA), I almost cried, until I realized that is what web pages exist for.

Fast forward a couple weeks and here I was whipping up what hopefully tastes as good as it looks. I had a couple wide-eyed men gawking at it last night as I spooned it into tiny little jars, that we are using for a Christmas Party we are hosting. Thankfully for those two fellows, I had just enough to make a "sampling" jar of it (because apparently the foie gras they had earlier wasn't enough liver for them this week).

So as they try it this evening, and while others scrumptiously devour it on Saturday, I would like to raise my glass to Bon Appetit, for making me cook something so offal-ly delicious.

Chicken Liver Mousse with Riesling-Thyme Gelee
Courtesy of Bon Appetit

1 LB chicken livers, cleaned
4 C milk, divided
2 C unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
3 TB finely chopped shallots
3 sprigs thyme
2 TB Apple Brandy
2 tsp kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tsp sugar
3/4 C sweet Riesling
Fresh thyme sprigs 

For mousse:
Mellow the flavor of the chicken livers by placing them in a glass bowl with 2 cups milk. Cover; chill for 2 hours. Drain; discard milk. Return livers to same bowl, add the remaining 2 cups milk, cover, and chill for 2 more hours. Drain; discard milk and rinse livers. Pat dry with paper towels.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl; set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallots and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are very soft, about 10 minutes. Add livers, increase heat to medium, and cook, turning once, until livers are firm but still pink inside, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in Apple Brandy. Return to heat; cook until Brandy is reduced by half, about 30 seconds. Discard thyme.
Transfer liver mixture to a food processor; add 2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Process until smooth. With processor running, add remaining butter by tablespoonfuls until all butter is incorporated. Transfer mousse to prepared strainer. Using a rubber spatula, press mousse through strainer. Rinse and dry strainer, then strain mousse again, discarding solids in strainer. Divide among small jars. Chill until firm, 1–2 hours.
For gelée:
Place 1/4 cup water in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Microwave gelatin mixture until gelatin dissolves and mixture becomes clear, about 30 seconds. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Stir in wine. 

Spoon gelée over mousse in jars, forming a 1/4" layer (not all gelée may be used). Top each jar with thyme sprigs or leaves. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until gelée is set, about 1 hour.

Serve with bread or crackers and enjoy.

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