Who says accidents must be bad? As my friend over at cheesetoast later told me, “it’s not an accident when it’s duck fat.” But it was an accident, it was just a wonderful and delicious one.
Basically I wanted to have a BBQ. I wanted to use the enormous beef liver that had taken up space in my freezer for the last two months. I decided to make mousse. There was too much mousse. What better way to preserve the second ramekin of mousse than by spreading a layer of duck fat, left over from the duck confit episode, over the top of the mousse?
Sometimes when you are cooking, or at least when I’m cooking, I get excited about something, an idea, a technique, and rationalization departs. Call it a brain fart, call it what you will, but I went to spread the duck fat over the top of the mousse before I had let the mousse cool down.
What happens when you put solid duck fat on top of warm liver mousse? I watched in fascinated horror as the fat quickly melted right into my mousse. My brain froze. Then I looked again. My mousse was creamily encasing the melted fat. And, as all good adaptable cooks would, I took a spoon and started stirring. The result, of course, was an unbelievably rich and tasty beef liver mousse. Having later eaten the version with out the duck fat, all I can tell you is that the proof is in the mousse: There is no such thing as a bad accident when duck fat is involved.
Duck Fat and Beef Liver Mousse
Chop up a sweet white onion (I used a walla walla) and a clove of garlic and put into a pan with a few tablespoons of butter (this recipe is very forgiving, so don’t worry about amounts). Saute them till they are transluscent, but don’t let them caramalize. While that is going on, chop the liver into managable pieces, about the size of two fingers. Add the liver to the pan and sautee for a few minutes, till all the sides have changed color. At this point I seasoned the liver with fresh thyme from my half living herb garden, a pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper, though the seasoning could be whatever you choose. Then dump it all into the food processor and puree with about 2 sticks of butter. Deglaze the pan using a sweet wine (I used port, for example) and add that along with a glug worth of brandy to the livers. Pour these into ramekins or molds, then add two teaspons of duck fat in and swirl with a spoon. Because mine was an accident, it was totally mixed in, but you could make a great design while mixing in the duck fat. Decorate with more herbs as a garnish, refridgerate for a few hours and serve with Wheat Thins (or cracker of your choice).