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Too often, hunters discard the organ meats from deer and other ungulates liver, heart, and even kidneys. Yet those organ meats are far healthier than similar fare you purchase in a grocery store. Carry along a large, heavy-duty Ziploc or two when you go afield and save organ meats as you field dress an animal. Here's one way to make tasty use of liver.
1 pound liver
1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup brandy
In a bowl, soak the liver in milk for two hours. Refrigerate liver while soaking. Drain liver well.
In a large skillet, melt four tablespoons butter with one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until soft (about three minutes). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the liver, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté until the liver is browned on the outside and slightly ink on the inside (about five minutes). Remove pan from heat, add brandy, return to heat and flame. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the liver is cooked through but still tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Discard the bay leaves.
In a food processor, puree the liver mixture. Add the remaining butter in pieces and pulse to blend. Adjust seasonings to taste. Pack the pate into a mold (sprayed with Pam) and refrigerate until firm (at least six hours).
To serve, remove from mold and garnish with fresh parsley. Surround with croutons, Melba toast, rye toast or toasted pita bread.
TIP: A little cream can be added when processing if pate is too thick or stiff.
All recipes by Jim Casada. Jim Casada is a full-time freelance writer whose work includes writing or editing a number of cookbooks on wild game. For information on these books, others he has written or edited, or to sign up for a free subscription to his monthly e-newsletter, visit his website at www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com