Gateau de foie de volaille (smooth chicken liver terrine)

This recipe was inspired by a classic Paul Bocuse dish.  In his version, he bakes the gateau in individual ramekins, then serves it warm with crayfish cream.  I was interested in developing a really good smooth liver terrine, so I adapted his recipe by trial and error to arrive at this final result.  It is one of the most popular dishes at both Le Pichet and Cafe Presse.

Makes One 7 cup terrine



Gateau aux foies de volaille


  • 1lb chicken livers (fresh)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 eggs (large)
  • 1 1/2 cup madeira
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 piece dried orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the Madeira, peppercorns, bay leaf and orange peel in a small saucepan. Reduce over high heat until only about 1/4 cup of liquid remains. Strain and cool.
2. While the Madeira is reducing, put the livers into the work bowl of the food processor and process until smooth. Pass the liver purée though a drum sieve and into a large mixing bowl. Put the eggs and cream into the unwashed processor bowl and pulse until well mixed. Pass this mixture through the drum sieve into the liver purée. Mix in the salt, sugar and cooled reduction.
3. Line a loaf pan with plastic film. Fill the loaf pan with the liver mixture. Bake the gateau in a water bath until just set in the center. This should take about 30 minutes. Remove the gateau from the water bath and cool completely.
4. Turn the cooled gateau onto a serving plate and unmold. Remove the plastic and cut with a hot knife. Serve with crusty bread, mustards and cornichons.
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16 thoughts on “Gateau de foie de volaille (smooth chicken liver terrine)”

    1. Obviously the better the madeira the better the results. We use a moderately prices madeira, dont remember the brand right off hand.

  1. Does this really call for 2 tablespoons salt? That seems like too much. I tasted it with 2 teaspoons and it seemed salty enough. 2 tbsp seems like it would overpower it.

    1. Yes 2 tablespoons of salt is correct. This recipe, using 1# of livers, makes a terrine that yields 12 slices each weighing 4oz. This is enough to serve 16-20 guests easily.

  2. Thanks so much for posting these recipes, Jim! I’m anxious to make the chicken liver terrine at home – it’s a long-time favorite – but something strange has happened to this page and it now has the most complicated recipe of all time where the terrine recipe should be. 😉 Could you repost the terrine recipe? Thank you!

  3. Jim,

    I worked for you when I was fresh out of culinary school back in 2000 just after you opened. You helped me set the standards for everything I have done in my career. This chicken liver terrine was one of the things I have always remembered to this day. Thank you for helping me become the Chef I am today.

    Daniel Bridges

  4. Hello Jim,

    I have been enjoying this terrine at Le Pichet for close to a decade. It is one of my favorite dishes from the restaurant. I am so happy to have the recipe now. I am curious about using plastic film in the oven. I have a large roll of Reynolds 904 film at home. Will this stand up to the warm temperature of the oven/hot water bath. I would hate to ruin the dish with melted plastic. Any comments you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Because of the low temperature and because this recipe calls for the use of the water bath, it should be fine to use plastic film for this preparation.

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