Duck liver
Credit: Taryn Kapronica

"We have this connotation from Hannibal Lecter that it's sinister," says Reilly of liver. Yes, it goes well with fava beans, but it's also among the most versatile of organ meats, pairing well with cold and hot preparations such as pastas and many brunch items. That's one reason why the beast + bottle kitchen loves to work with it. This dish, in particular, is relatively easy and works well with any mustard, although Reilly recommends his house-made cherry mustard. "It'd be a 'wower' at a dinner party," he says.

Duck Liver Mousse with Cherry Mustard
(Serves 10–12 as an appetizer)

Duck Liver Mousse Ingredients

  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 1 duck liver, cleaned of all veins
  • 1/2 lb butter, melted
  • 2 cups of cream
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of Madeira

Cherry Mustard Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lb cherries
  • 3 tbsp dry mustard
  • 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • Pinch salt


Cook the shallots in vermouth until almost dry, then set them aside to cool. In a food processor, puree the livers with the shallot mixture, butter, cream, pink salt, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until very smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Mix in the Madeira, and place the mousse in a ceramic terrine form sprayed with vegetable spray. Place the form in a baking dish with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake for one hour 45 minutes at 350°F. Remove from the oven, and place the terrine form in another baking dish filled with ice. Allow it to cool there for at least 4 hours. When cooled, slice the mousse thin to serve.

For the cherry mustard, combine the sugar with two cups of water in a heavy-bottom saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add cherries and cook on high for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the dry mustard powder, whole grain mustard, and salt. Chill before serving.