Culinary Adventures, Eats, Our Growing Edge, Recipes
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Duck Liver, Cognac and Sage Pâté



This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage us to try new food related things. Leah from Sharing The Food We Love is the host for this month’s event. If you have a blog and you are eating or cooking something new this month, click below to join.



Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone! It’s a great season for eating and drinking. Let’s begin with a little shout out to Cognac. The Koala and I have been enjoying Cognac since winter. At 40% alc/vol it’s a serious tipple but goes down smooth as silk. I also love how low maintenance it is. Just pour and enjoy. No ice, no mixer, no fluff and cheaper than I would have guessed. With Cognac in the house, I wanted to do something else with it this month and perusing my foodie bucket list, I found just the thing.

Years ago, I was a little obsessed with liver after I read about the super rat science experiment:

“A group of scientists that have been doing a study on rats… In testing, two groups of rats: one group eating a meal of steak, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and vitamins each day; the other eating nothing but raw cow liver.

The rats were tested each day for how long they were able to swim in a 55 gallon drum of water. As the days and weeks passed the scientists found the rats eating just the raw liver were steadily swimming far longer than the other group. The group eating the meat, potatoes, and vegetables with vitamin supplement were consistently swimming for 15 minutes and then starting to sink like lead. However the raw liver eating rats reached the point where they were swimming far longer than anyone wanted to bother testing which brought the test to an end.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t really like liver. I tried. I really wanted to be a super rat. I ordered liver at cafes and restaurants, hoping to enjoy it and incorporate it into my diet but the heavy iron flavour is too rich for my palette.

I do however, love pâté. Pâté is a good introduction to offal.

It has been a while since I tackled anything from my foodie bucket list and this post crosses off two items in one fell swoop.

This recipe makes 3 cups of pate. Why so much? Because it’s party season and because duck livers come in 500 gram lots around here. I have written this recipe so that it can easily be halved. Before you begin, I recommend measuring out your serving ramekins/bowls, you might find you have 2 x 1.5 cup ramekins which would be perfect, or perhaps you would prefer 3 x 1 cup ramekins…or like me, you have a 2 cup ramekin (for party) and a 1 cup ramekin (for keeps).

I like a silky smooth pâté but if you like chunky country-style pate, feel free to use a food processor or even chop by hand and omit the cream.


Duck Liver, Cognac and Sage Pâté

Makes 3 cups


  • 500 grams duck liver (2.2 lb)
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac (I used Courvoisier)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • To garnish: whole sage leaves
  • To seal: 2 tablespoons melted duck fat or butter


  1. Trim and discard any sinew from the duck livers. Cut livers into 1 inch pieces.
  2. In a skillet or sauté pan, heat the duck fat and butter until melted. Add the diced onion and fry for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the duck liver, garlic and sage leaves and cook over medium-high heat for several minutes stirring occasionally. When livers lose their pink colour, they are cooked through. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste.
  3. Transfer to a measuring jug and add Cognac and cream. Whizz through with a stick blender, until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as you wish.
  4. Carefully spoon pâté into your serving ramekins, flatten the top layer with a spoon. Tap onto kitchen bench to settle and flatten. Try and get the pâté  flat as possible to minimise exposure to air. Lay garnish sage leaves on top in a decorative motif.
  5. Heat a little duck fat (or butter if you prefer) and drizzle on top to seal the pâté. The hot fat will sizzle the sage releasing the sage fragrance to the seal.
  6. Cool for 1 hour and then cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  7. Serve with toast points, sliced baguette, crackers with cheese, cold cuts, pickles. Also great smeared on steak or stuffed into chicken breast or mushrooms.

What I learned

I found that making pâté was easier than I thought it would be. Next time I will try chicken livers as they are more economical and easier to source than duck livers. I might also up the Cognac (double) and the black pepper for a bit more kick.

Hot toast is the best with pâté. The butter and duck fat in the pâté will melt just a little on hot toast improving the flavour and texture.



    • I can’t say I have tried pork liver. At least not to my knowledge. It makes me wonder, I eat so much pork…where does all the liver go?

      Merry Christmas to you too That Other Cooking Blog.

  1. Paté is one of my favourite hors d’œuvres too and you can’t beat the wonderful flavour and texture of duck liver. Cognac is also great for slight tummy troubles, just a small shot will quell an upset tummy in minutes…a far cry better than that pink thick crap! My Dad used to warm his cognac, we gave him a fancy warmer in the late 70’s for a birthday (like this one, but you can also light the cognac in the glass and allow it to warm up then blow out that beautiful blue glow and be very careful as the glass gets extremely hot.
    Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to you, the koala and that gorgeous little powder puff tail friend. XOXO

  2. Pingback: December’s Our Growing Edge and A Happy First Birthday | Sharing The Food We Love

  3. pâté is one of my favorite food, though I have never attempted to make one until now. I have to try your recipe someday 🙂

    P.S. This idea of super rat should be introduced to Pixar. Like Popeye with spinach, when rat eats liver, it will become super and fight bully 🙂

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