devilled chicken livers: a retro party bite

devilled chicken livers
My father worked for a well-known drinks company in the late 1960s and 70s. It seemed to my childish eyes that life was one long party, as my parents always seemed to be entertaining. I realise now that it was all part of the job, but there was clearly a lot of pleasure (well food and wine) involved too. While my mother may have been bored by the drudgery of day-to-day cooking, she was actually a very good cook and loved to cook for these parties. I suspect there was also a little bit of the show-off in her too for she loved putting on a good display of fabulous food, often of the sort that other people could only dream of. (If I tell you that she used to make her own puff pastry, you'll know what I mean!)

My mother, Evelyn, was effortlessly glamorous, always elegantly dressed, while calmly producing beautiful and delicious food. Sadly I have inherited nothing from my mother, except perhaps my widows’ peak hairline, (definitely not her svelte waistline), and a love of cooking for big crowds of people.

Devilled chicken was one of Evelyn's party standards; I have always loved it because of the gorgeous spice kick. Oh that and the fact that you can serve it with pickles. There really are never enough opportunities to eat pickles. So perhaps if you fancy serving a party nibbles that's a little bit different from the standard chicken liver pate, this one comes highly recommended for a little bit of a retro vibe.

Skill level: Easy

200g chicken livers, finely chopped
1 x medium onion, very finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
a knob of butter
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Mushroom ketchup (optional - replace with Worcestershire sauce)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste, plus extra to dust)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
a splash of double cream
chopped capers, to serve
chopped cornichons, to serve
toast, to serve


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C / Gas Mark 5.
  2. Heat oil in a small pan. Add the butter and then the onion. Gently fry until the onion is soft and translucent (about 15 minutes). The onion should not brown.
  3. Turn up the heat. Add the liver. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liver has coloured.
  4. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, mushroom ketchup, mustard, cayenne pepper and seasoning. Add more of the "devil" if you like a spicier taste.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs and a splash of cream. You should have a thick paste.
  6. Butter 4 ramekins. Fill with mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Dust with a little extra cayenne before serving for extra spice.
  7. Serve with toast and chopped pickles.


o cozinheiro este algarve said...

Nice one - not extravagant on ingredients-will be making

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Mostly store cupboard and an excuse for me to wolf down half a jar of gherkins. Not that I need much of an excuse!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Mostly store cupboard and an excuse for me to wolf down half a jar of gherkins. Not that I need much of an excuse!