Food & Craft

Venison Liver Pâté

  • Fresh venison liverFresh venison liver
  • Removing the membraneRemoving the membrane
  • Pork bellyPork belly
  • Mixing completedMixing completed
  • Bacon-lined dishesBacon-lined dishes
  • Ready for the ovenReady for the oven
  • In the bain marieIn the bain marie
  • Fresh from the ovenFresh from the oven
  • The finished pateThe finished pate


  • 1kg venison liver
  • 500g pork belly
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 125g breadcrumbs
  • 150ml port
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon (optional)

Our good friend Alan stalks deer on a local estate, and one evening last week he turned up on our doorstep with a bag containing four still warm roe deer livers. The deal was quickly settled - we would get the livers provided I would make pâté from them.

This is a a rich, gamey pâté, set off beautifully by the smoked bacon - although it says optional it really does finesse the dish.

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr 30 mins Serves: 12


  1. Clean the fine membrane from the liver by slicing just below the surface with a sharp knife and using your fingers to peel it away. Cut out any tough bits of liver.

  2. Mince the liver, pork belly and onion - if you prefer a coarser textured pâté (which we think works best for venison) use the coarsest plate on your mincer, otherwise use a medium plate.

  3. Add all the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly but not too vigourously.

  4. Stretch the bacon rashers on the back of a knife and use it to line two 1 litre overproof dishes. If you're not lining the dishes with bacon, grease with a little butter.

    Tip: We use bread tins when making this for ourselves, or nice ½ litre ceramic dishes for gifts.

  5. Divide the mixture between the dishes, fold over or trim any bacon that's sticking out, and cover tightly with greased foil.

  6. Cook in a bain marie for 1½ hours at 170°C / Gas Mark 3. It's cooked when it comes away from the side of the dish and is firm to the touch.

  7. Allow to cool thoroughly, then refrigerate in the dish. Ideally leave it in the fridge for at least 2 days before eating - the flavour improves no end.

Serve on hot buttered toast with some rocket and fruity chutney.

This freezes really well - once it's cool turn it out and slice into portions. Wrap in cling film and eat within 3 months.

Further Reading

Cakes: River Cottage Handbook No.8

Cakes: River Cottage Handbook No.8 Pam Corbin

Soup for All Occasions

Soup for All Occasions New Covent Garden Soup Company

Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2

Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2 Pam Corbin

Bread Matters: Why and How to Make Your Own

Bread Matters: Why and How to Make Your Own Andrew Whitley

River Cottage Veg Every Day!

River Cottage Veg Every Day! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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