ousse is a French word meaning lather or foam. It can refer to a foamy hair product or a decadent chocolate dessert. But let’s not get confused by chocolate mousse here. The mousse in question is a savory mousse made of liver, not a confection for dessert. Yes, when we say mousse, we usually mean liver mousse--an emulsified liver product, with a light, airy texture and creamy mouth feel.
How is Mousse Made?
To achieve that airy texture, lightly sautéed liver (usually duck, goose, chicken, turkey liver) is puréed to a fine paste, then eggs and cream are added, as well as wine or liquor (like Armagnac), and chicken or duck fat. Mousse may be flavored with herbs and onions, black pepper, and sometimes fruits or vegetables. We like black truffles in ours. Spices such as nutmeg and allspice - sweet and fragrant spices - bring depth of flavor to the liver concoction. But simple pairings like apple and chicken liver can make a surprisingly delicious duo.
Mousse is wonderful spread on crusty toast points, crackers, or slabs of rustic bread, and is a must on a charcuterie platter, where its silkiness will complement dry-cured sausages and hams. Liver mousse is a classic part of French cuisine, as evidenced by the fact that Julia Child offers a recipe for chicken liver mousse in her iconic cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
At D’Artagnan we like our mousse simple and often. These are a few of our favorite mousses…
Mousse Truffée (troo-fey) - This silky mousse is made of livers from free-range, organic chickens and turkeys. Port wine adds flavor and refines the texture, and black truffles bring a luxurious, earthy flavor. This mousse is perfect for everything from canapés at a formal party to a picnic in the park.
Peppercorn Mousse – starting with the same liver mousse base as above, we add cracked peppercorns instead of truffles, which bring a crunchy kick to this silky mousse. Easy to confuse on sight, but once you taste them both, you’ll know the difference between peppercorns and truffles!
Mousse Basquaise (bahs-kez) – this duck liver mousse is inspired by a traditional recipe from the Basque country in Southwest France. It combines duck fat and duck livers to create a creamy mousse that is accented in true Basque style with port wine and sweet roasted red bell peppers.
Mousse of Foie Gras - Regular chicken liver or duck liver might be acceptable in a mousse, but not in mousse of foie gras. True mousse of foie gras should contain only the fatty liver of a duck or goose, which is how it’s done at D’Artagnan. Ours is the only 100% foie gras mousse on the market.
Medallion of Foie Gras – This is our mousse of foie gras, pure and simple, with the thrilling addition of black truffles. It’s not cooked in a terrine mold, but instead is formed in a plastic tube, so that perfect round slices (or medallions) can be cut from it, and served on toast. It can also be piped from the plastic sheath to form shapes, or to stuff pastry shells.