Fatted Calf’s Duck Liver Mousse with Armagnac Cream

Sautéed duck livers are enriched with butter and then exalted with Armagnac whipped cream to create a silky, sumptuous spread to be enjoyed with toast points, in a Vietnamese-style banh mi or—with the blinds drawn—au naturel, naked, straight from the crock with a spoon.
May 20, 2016


Season the duck livers with salt, black and white pepper and optional curing salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Melt the duck fat in a heavy sauté pan over medium—high heat. When the fat begins to sizzle add the livers and sauté for about 5 minutes. They should be still rosy on the inside and yielding to the touch but not squishy. Turn out onto a platter to cool. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 2 hours.

Divide the cooked livers into 3 equal parts. Put ⅓ of the livers into the bowl of a food processor and purée for 3 minutes. Slowly add ⅓ of the gelée or stock and cognac followed by ⅓ of the butter. Process for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture looks very smooth. Scrape the puree into a mixing bowl using a rubber spatula and repeat with the remaining 2 batches of livers.

Mix the purée and taste for seasoning. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh sieve or tamis set over a bowl by scraping small amounts over the surface of the sieve with a spatula or plastic bench scraper. Whip the cream to soft peaks, add the Armagnac and a pinch of salt, then fold into the liver purée. Pack the mousse into an earthenware crock if you will be serving the mousse en terrine. Alternately, line a terrine with plastic wrap and fill with the mousse. Once thoroughly chilled it can be turned out and sliced. Keeps refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

*Denotes that there are further instructions in the cookbook, or inquire at your local butcher.

About this recipe

Photo reprinted with permission from In the Charcuterie, by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller, copyright 2013 by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2013 by Alex Farnum.

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  • 2½ pounds (1.1 kilo grams) prepared duck livers, cleaned and trimmed*
  • 2 tablespoons rendered duck fat
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon pink curing salt (optional)*
  • ½ cup duck gelée or 2 cups duck broth reduced to ½ cup then seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt*
  • ¼ cup Armagnac
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) softened butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
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