Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chicken Liver Parfait in the Varoma

This is based on a recipe from the book "BANC" with recipes by Liam Tomlin from his time at Banc Restaurant in Sydney.

I recall visiting the restaurant on the Friday, September 14, 2001. The twin towers had crumbled a few days before, Ansett had collapsed and I was supposed to be flying back to Melbourne the next day on an Ansett flight.

The meal was superb, starting with the most sublime and clear Peking Duck Consomme. It was so clear, free from any trace of fat and full of exquisite flavour.

The restaurant had also suffered recently, at the hands of the Sydney food media and Banc had lost a hat. I had been recommended to eat here by a chef and was not disappointed. It was a Five Star experience and finished with a glass of armagnac chatting to Remi Bancal, who had been at Jacques Reymond's.

For those who have not heard of Liam Tomlin and Banc, this Sydney Morning Herald article may help show his influence on Austrlian food.

The book has become a collectors item and will always be treasured, along with the memories of a wonderful restaurant; superb chef and team; and, food prepared with love.

This dish is one of the various parfaits on offer and the Thermomix does a superb job of preparing the dish with a light texture.

If you are able to source duck livers then they produce an even better result. Duck Liver Parfait will always remind me of Philippe Mouchel and the plates of duck charcuterie that were available at Paul Bocuse Restaurant at Diamaru, and now available in a more modest form at the brasserie by Philippe Mouchel.

Chicken Liver Parfait


500g chicken livers
60ml madeira
60ml port
60ml cognac or brandy
2 large eggs
300g softened unsalted butter
salt, freshly ground pepper


Thoroughly clean the livers, removing any sinew or green parts left from the gall bladder, as these will turn the livers bitter. Place the livers in a bowl and cover with madeira, port and cognac. Marinate for 2 hours in the fridge.

Pour the livers into TM basket over a bowl and catch all the alcohol. Put the alcohol in TM bowl and cook for 15 minutes at Varoma Temperature on speed 3 to reduce its volume by about half. Pass through TM basket and allow to cool.

Place the livers in TM bowl and blend for 30 seconds on speed 7. Scrape down the sides during the processing. Set the TM to speed 3 and add the eggs one by one, and then add the reduced alcohol. Once blended pass the mixture through a very fine sieve into a bowl and set aside.

Place the butter in the TM bowl and blend for 30 seconds on speed 3 or until smooth. Add the liver mixture to the bowl and blend for 30 seconds on speed 9. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, before blending for 10 seconds on speed 3 to incorporate.

Line a 1litre terrine mould or dish that will fit into the Varoma with cling film, making sure that you press it right into the corners to ensure you achieve a nice even surface when turning out, and leave enough overhang to cover the top of terrine mould during the cooking of the parfait.

Pour the liver parfait into the terrine and fill to about 2cm (3/4in) from the top. Gently tap the terrine on the benchtop to expel any air bubbles through the parfait. Cover with the over-hanging cling wrap, and place a lid on top or cover with foil.

Place 1200 g water into the TM bowl. Place the terrine into the Varoma and position Varoma on TM lid. Cook for 45 minutes at 100°C on speed 2 and test with a skewer. If the parfait is still soft and runny give it a few more minutes before testing again (when the skewer is removed, it should be clean and barely warm to touch).

Remove from the Varoma and allow the parfait to cool before placing in the fridge to set over night before turning out. To turn out, run a sharp knife around the sides of the terrine mould to loosen the parfait. Invert the mould onto a board or plate. If it doesn't slide out easily, run a tea towel under hot water, squeeze out and place on the terrine. The heat from the tea towel will loosen the parfait.
Heat a sharp knife under hot water, wipe dry and cut the terrine into 1½ cm slices.

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