Friday, January 15, 2010

Lamb Liver Pate....The Scoop on Organ Meats.

Yes! I said it, the eyebrow raising words, "LIVER, and ORGAN MEATS". What puzzles me are the gasps that follow these words but those that do not follow mention of high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or artificial coloring? Rest assured, these locally raised lamb livers had a good life. Brought up on East Fork Farm here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, their host dwelled on pasture under the sun and ate grass. This means, when I spread this pate on baguette, I will be consuming a healthy share of essential vitamins and minerals. Here is the list:

Grass Fed Liver Contains:
B Vitamins:
B9 or folic acid
Fat Soluble Vitamins:
and essential fatty acids

Lamb Liver Pate:
(adapted from Sally Fallon's chicken liver pate)

*About 1 pound lamb livers, rinsed
*1/2 pound mushrooms (I used half shatike half button)
*3 Tbsp organic butter (for sauteing)
*1 small onion, chopped
*2 garlic cloves, mashed
*1/2 cup dry white wine
*1 tsp dry mustard
*1 tsp dried rosemary
*pinch dried dill
*1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp butter, room temp
*sea salt

In a heavy skillet, melt 3 Tbsp butter and saute livers, mushrooms and onion, until livers are browned. Add herbs, garlic, mustard and wine. Allow to cook until all liquid is gone. Remove from heat and cool. Blend in a food processor with softened butter. Add salt to taste. Place in a mold and chill thoroughly. Spread on baguette or crackers with mustard and pickles (a tip from my Austrian friend Heidi).

This recipe was adapted from one of my most trusted pieces of reading material:

A Must Read!


  1. Is it possible to cook with the water steaming method rather than saute? Would steaming create a smoother pate? Thanks

    1. Mike, the saturated fats used to sautée will enable the absorption of the minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. With the minerals absorbed the body has the co-factors to uptake the vitamins. Prize the good fats!

  2. Mike, I think you would have no problem steaming the livers, but I would still saute the mushrooms and remaining ingredients to get that good pan seared flavor. Lamb livers are grainer than chicken, so I like the idea of steaming to perhaps create a smoother outcome.

  3. Yum! I'm going to try this today. One question: Since I'm making this in part as baby food, I'm wondering if I might a) leave out the mushrooms and b) substitute something for the wine. Not as delicious, probably, but easier to digest. Thoughts on that?
    Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Hi Lisa-
    I really like that you are making this for your wee one. I would use a splash of vinegar or lemon juice in place of the wine, or omit it completely, and maybe try pre-soaked and cooked brown rice in place of the mushrooms. It needs something to bind it together, and I think a starch may work. It will have a different taste, but should be easy to digest. Let me know how it goes.

    1. This adaptation with grains would be suitable for a wee one 18-24 months. Babies and young children do not produce amylase which is required to digest grains. In NT, Sally suggests no cereal grains for babies under one year (pg 605).

      Just found this blog. Well-written. Brava!

  5. ha! was looking for a recipe...yours came up first in google and lo and behold, I'm cooking East Fork Farm lamb livers too...

    thanks for the recipe!

  6. I was happy to find your recipe since I received lamb livers with my recently purchased local pastured lamb. I'm not a fan of straight liver but my husband suggested pate and, voila, here's your recipe! I will likely leave out mushrooms as well since I despise them but thanks for the tip to add something starchy as a binder. It'll be fun to try!

  7. Rachel - I recall Sally noting the chicken livers are a more complementary balance of vits A,D,E versus beef liver which is mostly vit A. Do you have any more information on this, and on lamb in particular? Many thanks.

  8. My wife raises grass-fed lamb (Sheepy Hollow) and sells it to locals. It's wonderful stuff. Almost everyone turns down their liver, kidneys, tongue and heart. I've looked the other way about those items, too; that is until I came upon your recipe and advice. I tried it (to the letter) and it worked wonderfully. The pate went over really well at a cocktail party here and finally one person commented to another that it was certainly "chicken liver" and my wife proudly assured him it was not. The entire room was very surprised.

  9. Thanks for the recipe. Looks yummy.

    I'm thinking of trying this with goat/kid liver. Is there anything I need to do differently? Is it possible to add goat/kid kidney to this in some way (or any good suggestions on how I could cook this)?

  10. Just finished the lamb liver pate, added a few tweeks of course, but it is delicious! A butcher friend brought me some lamb livers, and so begins my pate journey....Thanks for the recipe and I am enjoying your site. The strawberry goat cheese tart is also calling to me....!

  11. I have a ton (well, almost) of home made lamb livers because I hate to toss them in the offal barrel when the butcher comes (none of my customers want it - fools!). Been making a rustic pate adapted from Julia Child, but am looking for some variety. I think the 'shrooms will add needed moisture and a good bass note. I'm going to try this with preserved lemons instead of the lemon juice - I think that will add enough salt and perhaps more complex flavor. I will report back with the results...

  12. East Fork - Does that mean you're somewhere in Transylvania County? Do you sell lamb products? I live in Pisgah Forest. I bought a lamb liver in Asheville and will try your pate. Its sounds wonderful. I'll check back and see if you respond. I'm bookmarking your blog.

  13. Hi Anonymous and Sharon C. So glad you are trying the recipe. The preserved lemon idea sounds terrific. I would love to hear how it turns out for you both. Sharon I am in Asheville, but able to source lamb liver at the UNCA tailgate market from East Fork Farm. Their products are favorites at our house. Thanks for your comments and for reading!

  14. Hi, GIAA
    This fall I got hold of a lot of lamb liver from a local farmer. I browsed for recipies and ended up trying yours. I was out of wine so I used vinegar and lemon juice as suggested, which turned out fine. This really is a good tasting patê. All my friends will get some for this years X-mas. Thanx!

  15. I just tried this recipe, but with a few alterations: I used fresh rosemary, and used several tablespoons of it minced. If I recall, dry herbs are more potant. I also used fresh mint to bring out the flavor of the lamb. I tried some before it was chilled, and I really like how it tuned out.

  16. This is my go to recipe for pate from my Icelandic lamb livers. I usually don't like liver but I love this pate!