Liver Pâté with Thyme, Orange, and Pistachios

A fast and easy pâté that I make with the flavorful innards from the free-range turkey or the rooster we get for our festive winter lunches.


I no longer remember which pâté recipe served as the base for my adaptation. As is my habit, I start by sautéing the onions with olive oil, instead of butter or duck fat, adding orange jest and also pomegranate molasses, which give it a lovely, fruity flavor. I prefer to use unsalted pistachios, but if you cannot get them, salted are fine.

This pâté is an ideal appetizer or first course, served with a simple green salad, like the one we make from the Romaine and other lettuce leaves and arugula from the garden.

I am sure your friends will appreciate a jar of this homemade pâté, so you may like to double the recipe.

Serves 6-8, about 2 ½ cups 

1/3 cup olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 pound (500 grams) chicken, turkey or duck livers (fresh or frozen)

4 branches fresh thyme, and extra sprigs to decorate, OR 1 tablespoon dried thyme or savory

One 3-inch piece orange peel

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons brandy


2-3 teaspoons Aleppo pepper, or plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Zest of half an orange

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup shelled pistachios, preferably unsalted

Slices of toasted whole-grain bread, for serving


Warm olive oil in a deep skillet, over medium-high heat, add the onions and sauté until softened, but not colored.

Add the chicken livers and orange peel, if using, and sauté, stirring often and braking the livers into small pieces, until they are firm and cooked through; only slightly pink inside.


Add the molasses or balsamic vinegar, the thyme and brandy, and cook 30 more seconds, stirring.

Season with salt and Aleppo or freshly ground black pepper, add the orange zest, taste and adjust seasoning.

Discard the orange peel, transfer the liver mixture and 1 tablespoon butter to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the pistachios and pulse for just a few seconds, to coarsely chop the pistachios and incorporate into the liver mixture.

Divide the pâté into glass jars or serving ramekins, pour the rest of the butter over the mixture, decorate with thyme sprigs, orange zest and sprinklings of Aleppo pepper, if you like. Transfer to the fridge to chill completely, preferably overnight.

Serve from the jar or ramekin, spreading over toasted bread.




5 thoughts on “Liver Pâté with Thyme, Orange, and Pistachios

  1. Perfect timing! Just got some organic chicken livers. I was also given some lamb liver from a local farmer. Aglaia, do you know if lamb liver can be used in pate? I’ve never had any before.

    1. I have never used lamb’s liver but it should work, I think. Maybe it will need more aromatics and balsamic. Taste and adjust. Would love to know the result. As you know lamb’s liver is quite a delicacy here, especially fried!

      1. Made the pate with lamb liver and used your recipe as you wrote it. Results were delicious! We served it at a gathering with some confirmed liver-haters who all tasted it and loved it. The aromatics of the orange zest and balsamic bite balance the liver perfectly. I will be making this frequently. Thanks, Aglaia!

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