This is based on a classic chicken liver parfait, which I truly love, and learned to make in England. A while back, we got these wild snare-caught rabbits from Quebec, around James Bay. I wasn’t expecting to get the livers, hearts and kidneys, too. I was really happy when I did, so I started playing around with them and figured I’d make a parfait. So here’s a traditional English dish with a twist. Wild rabbit livers are intense—like chewing on a tree—so this is very rich and flavour-packed.
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf, torn
- ½ tbsp. black peppercorns
- 125 ml (½ cup) Madeira
- 125 ml (½ cup) Port
- 50 ml (¼ cup) rye whiskey
- 50 ml (¼ cup) thinly sliced shallots
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 150 g (5 oz) wild rabbit livers (optional: and hearts and kidneys, combined)*, cleaned and trimmed
- 75 g (2½ oz) chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed, room temperature
- 50 g (2 oz) raw foie gras, room temperature
- 2 whole eggs
- 225 g (½ lb) unsalted butter, melted, room temperature
Arrange thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns in a sachet—or tie with cheesecloth. Combine with Madeira, Port, rye, shallots and garlic in a saucepan on medium-high heat and reduce to syrup. Remove and discard sachet; set reduction aside to cool. Combine rabbit offal, chicken livers and foie gras in the jar of a high-powered blender. Add a generous pinch of salt, and blitz until smooth. Add reserved reduction, and blitz again. Next, incorporate the eggs, one at a time. Then, blend in butter in a slow trickle. Stop as soon as the mixture is homogenous (over-blending will break the emulsion). Pass mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
Taste and correct seasonings (at room temperature, seasoning should be assertive). Transfer to a small terrine mould—or divide between individual serving moulds or small mason jars. Do not overfill (mixture will expand when cooked).
Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).
Prepare a bain-marie: place mould(s) in the pan and add boiling water halfway up its (or their) side(s). Transfer to oven and cook to an internal temperature of 68°C (155°F). Remove mould(s) from bain-marie and set aside to cool, then press plastic wrap down onto the surface of the parfait, and transfer to refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours.
I like to serve this with grilled bannock and wild berries, but any good quality, mild-flavoured bread and sweet berry spread will do.
*This dish also works very nicely with offal from a farmed rabbit—sourced, more conveniently, from your butcher.
More often than not, it’s the herbs and spices in a dish that makes a wine pairing seem like a perfectly choreographed duet. Pinot Noir is the perfect dance partner for the thyme in this recipe.
For more info on these and other fine wines, go to Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits.