1/2 kg (~1 lb) Chicken livers, cleaned connective tissue removed
2 c. milk
1 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature*
3 shallots, minced
1/3 c. Cognac
salt and pepper
glass pan or bowl
medium skillet or saucepan
immersion blender or food processor
Place the cleaned chicken livers and milk in a glass pan. Cover and chill for a minimum 2 hours or overnight. This will soften the sometimes harsh flavor of the liver. Afterwards, drain and rinse the livers; discard milk. Dry with paper towels.
Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and thyme, cook until soft. Increase heat to medium, add livers and season. Cook until livers are slightly firm, but not hard.**
Deglaze with Cognac. Make sure to pick up all the brown bits (all the flavor is in there). Cook for about 1 minute. Discard thyme sprigs, and transfer the mixture into a food processor. Process until smooth. With the machine still running, incorporate the rest of the butter in small additions. Strain mixture into a bowl, using a rubber spatula to press the mousse through it. Divide the mixture among ramekins, or small glass containers for individual servings. Chill for 2 hours.
small fine-mesh strainer
small gravy dish (this will make it easy to pour over the mousse)
Place 1/4 c. of warm water in a ramekin, sprinkle unflavored gelatin and let it stand for about 10 minutes. In a small saucepan heat wine and sugar over medium-low heat for about 5 min. Once the gelatin has soften, add the other 1/4 c. of hot water to the ramekin and dissolve until mixture becomes clear. Add the gelatin mixture to the warm wine mixture and mix thoroughly. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add Cognac. Strain the mixture into a saucer. Let the warm mixture stand until it almost reaches room temperature. Once it has cooled, pour over chilled mousse. Return the mousse to the fridge and chill until the gelée has set. Can be made 2 days in advance.
You could place some thyme sprigs on top of the mousse and then pour the gelée over it for a more festive look.
Before serving, remove mousse from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
* you can use more butter (up to 4 sticks!) if you want to be more decadent. I like the liver flavor to be present therefore I use less butter.
** The color of the cooked liver will vary from pale pink to a mustardy-yellow according your geographical region. Chickens from warmer climates tend to have a yellow hue.