Chicken Liver Terrine

Note: This is step 1 of the multistep Momofuku bánh mi recipe

Chang’s Chicken Liver Terrine is crumbly, chunky and not a pretty thing to look at, but boy is it good. Chicken liver and ground pork are seasoned with garlic, shallots, Chinese five spice, and fish sauce. The taste is distinctly Vietnamese and decidedly delicious.

Liver be pretty polarizing; some people are turned off from the thought of eating liver – not the actual taste – so I find it hilarious when people tell me that they hate liver but love pâté or foie gras, and this happens more than you might think. Foie is nutty, buttery and delicious, but it’s still liver!

I used to be one of those people that didn’t like liver. When I was a kid, my mom used to make this green leaf lettuce wrap dish with peas stir fried with pork liver. Peas and liver were scooped up and then wrapped in lettuce leaves. I loved the peas and eating the green leaf lettuce, but the liver, it just didn’t appeal to me. I wasn’t much of a meat eater then and my parents weren’t the force-feeding type so I never really tried it.

Now that I’m a grown up (most of the time) I love liver, especially in terrines and pâtès; when liver’s done right, it’s transcendental.

Chang’s chicken liver terrine is a combination of chicken liver and ground pork, which reminds me of the juicy, loosely-packed, meatballs that you’ll sometimes find in bánh mi. The ground pork in the terrine takes away some of the edge of the chicken liver and gives the terrine nice contrasting textures.

This terrine is “not some neat-slicing piece of fancy French footwork,” and so, it’s pretty easy to assemble: aromatics and the chicken livers are chopped up in a food processor and then gently mixed with the ground pork. Rubber gloves were recommended for the mixing of the liver and pork, but I just got all down and dirty and did it with my bare hands.

When all the meats are mixed up they get packed into an oven safe container and are baked in a water bath for and hour and fifteen minutes.

The top of my terrine came out a bit burnt looking, and not that pretty, but it popped out of it’s container really nicely and tasted great on a bit of toast. I’m really looking forward to making bánh mi. I love love love those sandwiches and I’m loving this chicken liver terrine!

10 Comments add yours

  1. Chang’s Chicken Liver Terrine is “not a pretty thing to look at”… but it’s got a great personality?

    Looking forward to the rest of the bánh mi recipe and the inevitable resultant Momofuku dinner party! (hint hint)

    Great, now the Cheez Whiz jingle is running through my head…
    When are you free? We can do make-your-own-banh-mi!

    steph on February 18th, 2010 at 1:48 pm
  2. Best. Cutting-board. Ever.

    Thanks! I love it so much that I stopped cutting on it. He’s pretty scratched up lol.

    steph on February 19th, 2010 at 12:43 pm
  3. Greatly enjoying your blog (and FL at Home), as I’m also obsessed with making everything in both books – so many of the recipes are great to have on hand for crazy fancy dinners once you figure out how to make them with ease.

    If you only cook the terrine to 140 or so, it has the most beautiful pink texture and is much less crumbly. Obviously the livers and pork were local and happy, so I wasn’t worried in the slightest about the temp.

    Oh! More importantly, this terrine is so fricken rustic, you can just make the whole thing in the food processor as long as you pulse with style.

    I will have to try cooking the terrine to 140, pale pink pate sounds pretty and delicious. It’s so hard to go back and cook the recipes I love again because there are so many more I want to try!

    steph on March 11th, 2010 at 7:22 pm
  4. How do you get the ingrediants ?

  5. Mine is a nice pinky grey and slices well, but I cannot make up my mind if I like the overriding taste of ‘raw’ garlic. I may give it another go but saute the garlic and shallots or maybe poach garlic in milk to soften the bitterness.

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