Wednesday, April 04, 2007

a holiday classic

one of the most typical appetizers served at jewish holiday meals or functions is the famous chopped liver. for those who are adventurous enough to make it themselves, this dish can be whipped up in no time and with little effort — most people, however, seem to buy it from the deli these days.

the best chopped liver is made from schmaltz and griven [rendered chicken fat, onions & cracklings (skin)]. the taste of the once ubiquitous schmaltz is unique but is no longer a common household pantry item as it was in the days of our parents and grandparents. regardless, i like to have a small supply frozen for the times i want to make something like chopped liver. as for griven, an old world delicacy, well ... it's something that has to be eaten to truly appreciate. it's no wonder why it brings back memories for older generations — it really is that good :)

for passover purposes, chopped liver is usually served on pieces of matza instead of challah as is done the rest of the year. topped with fried onions, it can be garnished with hardboiled egg and/or cucumber slices.

classic chopped liver
gehakte leber

this can either be made the old fashioned way by chopping everything by hand or the more modern method, with a food processor. i prefer the latter however the texture is more like a pate de foie instead of the classic "gehakteh" [chopped] one.

makes for 10 - 12 servings


1 lb chicken livers
1 -2 large onions, cut in half rings & fried or griven
schmaltz or veg oil
1 large egg, hardboiled, or more, up to 3
1/4 c manischewitz wine [or similar sweet red]
1 tsp sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp onion powder & garlic powder, each [opt]
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

extra fried onion for garnishing/serving (use from above amount).


peel and cut onion in half. cut each half into thin half rings. heat schmaltz or oil and fry onion until golden brown but not crispy. set aside covered.

heat oven to about 475 F and place the chicken livers on a tin foil, separating each beforehand. if there is excess fat on them, remove it before grilling.

cook the livers for 20 minutes until they look browned and the liquid released is clear. to test if they are cooked, cut one in half. it should be slightly pink inside.

remove the livers from the oven and let them cool. discard the liquid.

processor method:

place the onions in the processor and pulse a few times to break them up. add the livers and pulse a few more times.

add the eggs, the wine and seasonings and pulse more until you get the texture you like.

taste and adjust seasonings.

by hand:

place the liver, onion or griven and egg on a board and with a cleaver chopped it to the desired fineness. place this in bowl and add the remaining ingredients. adjust to taste.



Princess Jibi said...

I saw this in powerpuff girls..
I never knew it was for real...
my family especially dont like eating chicken liver...
if they saw this the would freak out..
but am really fascinated about what this taste likes?
i like liver...

Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

I confess... as much as I try to be vegetarian I loooove chopped (chicken) liver!

How about slivovitz or sherry instead of the Manischewitz? Is it possible to find those kosher l'pesach? My sister likes it with calvados.

burekaboy — said...

PJ - oh yeah, trust me, it's for real. LOL. nothing got wasted with chickens! if you like liver, you'd probably like this. liver, though, is definitely an acquired taste.

hey em - calvados is the classic french addition for pate de foie gras but sherry or slivovitz would work fine, too. i think the idea behind 'our' version is the sweet from the manischewitz. c'mon, no manischewitz??? LOL! dunno if i've ever seen either of those items KLP.