Easiest Chicken Liver Mousse

Jamie Bissonnette

Coppa, Boston; Little Donkey, Cambridge, MA; and Toro, Boston and NYC

"One of the first things a young chef learns to make is chicken liver mousse. I learned it but didn’t make it often enough to remember the recipe," JBF Award winner Jamie Bissonnette recalls. "One day I watched a sous chef make it in less than 10 minutes. I was so impressed that I set a goal to do the same—and the result is a recipe I turn to over and over again. It’s buttery, creamy and tart."


  • 1 pound chicken livers
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil as needed
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • ¼ cup cognac or brandy
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon piment d’espelette
  • Schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), melted, for storage


Soak the chicken livers in the milk overnight. Strain the livers, place them on a clean paper towel, and pat dry.

Season the chicken livers with cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. Pan-fry the livers in vegetable oil over medium heat until browned on all sides but a little pink in the middle, about 3 minutes per side. Place the warm, cooked livers in a food processor with ½ pound (2 sticks) butter. Set aside.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the pan over medium heat. Cook the shallots and garlic with the thyme and bay leaves until shallots are translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. When the shallots are tender, add the cognac (or brandy). Remove the thyme and bay leaves and discard.

Pour the shallot mixture into the food processor with the livers. Add ½ tablespoon piment d’espelette. Blend until combined. Adjust the spice level with the remaining piment d’espelette and season with salt and pepper.

Pour the blended livers into an 8x8-inch baking dish or ramekins and cover the top with melted schmaltz. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm up before serving. For a very creamy version of mousse, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve using a paddle, then pack it into a jar or mold.


Serves 15