Recipe: easy "one pot" wild venison liver pate

Venison liver pate on a plate with brown bread

Rich, tasty, and so easy to make! This venison liver pate recipe is customisable and very hard to mess up! - Credit: Archant

Emily Damment shares her favourite venison liver pate recipe; it's so quick and easy to make, and it also freezes very well so you can save some for later! Be sure to check out the handy notes and tips at the bottom of the page...

Ingredients for venison pate on a work surface

When cleaning the liver, cut away anything that is not perfect, dark red flesh - otherwise your pate will have chewy bits! - Credit: Archant

Ingredients

  • 60g butter
  • 5 rashers of unsmoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 venison liver, brined, trimmed of all sinew/tubes, and diced (mine was fallow)
  • 60ml port or sloe gin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Melt a knob of the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the bacon and onion, and fry until onion is translucent and bacon is cooked. Do not allow the onion to crisp or go brown.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute, stirring to ensure the garlic is cooked.
  3. Add the diced liver, port, pepper, rosemary and salt, and cook until the liver is done and most of the liquid is absorbed. You want the liver a tiny bit pink in the middle. If it needs longer, add another splash of port to prevent the ingredients drying and burning.
  4. Remove from the heat and transfer the contents of the frying pan to a blender.
  5. Add the rest of the butter and the chopped parsley.
  6. Blend thoroughly until the mixture is smooth. 
  7. Transfer to pots of your choosing. At this stage, you can melt more butter in a saucepan and top each pot of pate with it. When chilled, it forms a protective layer on the top, that also looks very nice and professional!

Notes and tips

  • Brine your liver first! I have never made this with un-brined liver, and it may be too strong. I use a simple 50/50 salt and sugar wet brine and leave it for a full 24 hours, but you can use whole milk, your own favourite brine, and I've even read recipes where people have used Coca Cola to great effect.
  • You can use the liver of any deer. If you go for a smaller species, such as muntjac or CWD, you will need to reduce the quantity of the other ingredients a bit. The quantities listed have worked well for fallow and roe.
  • Try to avoid the livers of rutting male deer - they taste extremely strong!
  • You can play around with this recipe, it is all very imprecise! Change the herbs, try it with whiskey instead of port, add in a different balancing meat... it's fun and you may discover something new and tasty!
  • I used small glass ramekins to pot my pate, and this recipe made enough to fill about six. I keep a couple in the fridge and freeze the rest for use later in the year.
  • These make fantastic Christmas hamper additions. Team a small pot of pate with some sloe gin and a nice cheese and you've got a cracking, semi-homemade hamper to gift to friends and relatives. 
Venison liver pate next to a pan of melted butter

Melt more butter in the pan, then top the pates with it, and chill to seal - Credit: Archant


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