Gluten Free Thanksgiving – Chicken Liver Pate w/ Mushrooms Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on November 12, 2008

15 days to go until my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving! Woo Hoo! I just love Thanksgiving. I love it even more now that I don’t get bloated, sick and suffer the wrath of the Gluten Gods.

Over the years I have slowly converted to a gluten free Thanksgiving feast. I had serious doubts that it could be done and still maintain the integrity and the tradition of this – my family’s favorite day.

My family is a stickler for tradition. Thanksgiving is (in their minds) no time for experimentation. They want the same meal they have been served for the last two or three decades.

This got me thinking about just how “traditional” wheat would have been for the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. Turns out they were pretty gluten free themselves. The only grain mentioned in the one written account there is of the first Thanksgiving is ground corn!

However, no matter how historically correct it may be, my family is not going to stand for duck, venison, corn mush and squash for their yearly feast. So I have slowly converted the stuffing, the deserts, the gravy and the cream sauces from gluten bombs to happily (and virtually undetected) gluten free delights. In the next few posts I will give you all my traditional recipes for our gluten free Thanksgiving.

I say we start at the beginning: the Appetizer. While my family protests loudly if I take something away from the meal, they have no complaints to me adding (this may be the reason we have three different types of potatoes!) so I added this Chicken Liver Pate about five years ago and it continues to be a huge hit. I adapted it from a recipe I had read in Bon Appétit Magazine. This recipe can be made two days ahead, making it the perfect do-ahead dish. Serve with sliced pears or apples, cornichons and gluten free crackers.

Chicken Liver Pate w/ Mushrooms Recipe


14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature — use divided
1 pound assorted mushrooms (shitake, chanterelle, crimini, whatever you can get) — cleaned and sliced
6 green onions (white and most of them green) — sliced
1 ½ lbs chicken livers
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup dry sherry
½ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature — cut into 1 inch pieces


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender and browned and all juices have evaporated — about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in another heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add green onions. Sauté 2 minutes. Add chicken livers, salt and pepper and stir to coat. Cover and cook until no longer pink in the center, stirring often. About 10 minutes.

Remove cover and add sherry. Cook until sherry is almost evaporated — about 2 minutes. Add wine, dry mustard, nutmeg, ground cloves and simmer uncovered for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers to a food processor. Puree about 30 seconds. Add wine mixture from skillet and process until smooth. Add cream cheese, remaining butter (1/2 cup) and all but 1/3 cup of the mushrooms. Puree until very well blended. Transfer pate to a serving dish, arrange the reserved mushrooms on top and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 day or up to 2 days. Serve with sliced pears or apples, cornichons and gluten free crackers.

For an alternate presentation, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap overhanging on all sides and add the pate. Cover completely and refrigerate for 1 -2 days. Turn pate out onto a plate, remove cling wrap and slice pate into even slices. Top with reserved mushrooms.


A gluten free recipe that serves 12 people.

Ready for dessert?

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Categories:    Appetizers

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Steph November 12, 2008 at 10:08 pm

i love adding to traditions :)
can’t say i’ve ever had pate though. but yours would be a recipe i’d be willing to try!


Peter G November 13, 2008 at 12:29 am

Carol, I think your version will be better! The pate is so gorgeous…I can only imagine that creamy taste!


The Short (dis)Order Cook November 13, 2008 at 6:49 am

You made some great points about the “traditions” of gluten foods at Thanksgiving. I don’t think the Pilgrims would have been stuffing their turkey with stale bread!

It’s very coincidental that I read this post this morning because I had just been watching a TV show on the subject of gluten-free Thanksgiving meals. I don’t think it’s as hard as it sounds. The stuffing and whatever bread I serve on the side is the only wheat-based thing I serve (except for dessert).

My husband has long suspected he may be gluten intolerant (he has a lot of symptoms of Celiac disease), but he refuses to be tested and have it confirmed because he dreads the thought of not being able to eat cake or cookies whenever and wherever he wants to for the rest of his life. I’m always on the lookout for good wheat-free recipes in case he ever changes his mind about being tested and decides to kick glutens to the curb.


bleubird vintage November 13, 2008 at 8:11 am

i love this pate. it is sooo good, i can’t wait to eat it.
your fabulous daughter-in-law.


Naomi Devlin November 13, 2008 at 10:13 am

That pate looks delicious – am I right in thinking there’s a typo on the quantity of chicken livers though? 1 1/2 livers seems a mite stingy when you consider how tiny those little livers are…..

x x x


Simply...Gluten-free November 13, 2008 at 10:17 am

There was a typo indeed! I fixed it, s/b 1 1/2 pounds chicken livers! Thanks Naomi!


Katie November 15, 2008 at 10:00 am

I love all things Thanksgiving. Great photo!


The Peanut Butter Boy November 17, 2008 at 9:48 pm

I’m not a pate man myself but the presentation is gorgeous and enticing…I suppose it’s not as bad (or unethical) as foie gras?


Cynthia November 18, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Your pate is so moist. Ummm, wish I were heading your way for thanksgiving :)


Toni November 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Your pate looks divine! I don’t think it would be all that hard to slip in a gluten-free Thanksgiving without destroying a family tradition. And if it all tastes as good as this pate looks – who could complain?


white on rice couple November 30, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Happy Belated Thanksgiving Carol! We miss you and we’ve been busy!

Your fabulous gluten free dishes for Thanksgiving are just amazing! I need to just take a week and cook gluten free for every meal! This liver pate looks fabulous too, the cravings are starting.

I need to move on….your Thanksgiving series is making me so hungry!


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