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Chopped Liver

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Always Good for A Joke or A Sandwich

So, what am I? Chopped Liver? I have often wondered how this expression began. Since it refers to one of our best-loved traditional dishes, it should be a good thing, but implies a slight. However, my experience is that nobody ignores this. In these days of heightened awareness about dietary fat, we do not eat it often, but no special occasion is complete without it. A warm and happy bonding ritual occurs when we sample another cook’s recipe.

Good homemade Chopped Liver is always the start of glad conversation. We taste, compliment, and then compare methods. It is a time for sharing a bit of our family history with others. Those memories form the basis for new friendships. This recipe bears no resemblance to that dreadful stuff from the deli. It has precisely the wonderful flavor that has made this a classic treat. I have, however, modernized it by calling for the use of a food processor.

Now, now, I know that some of you are going to cry heresy. You have your old wooden bowl and chopper. Perhaps, it belonged to your mother, and hers before her. Of course you can use that. Far be it from me to interfere with tradition. There are also women who joke that a bit of grated finger in the Latkes is a good thing. There are two benefits to chopping by hand: the sense of history, and the calories burned with all that work. There is no difference in flavor.


1 pound Chicken Livers
4 large Onions, chopped
6 Eggs, hard boiled
1/4 cup Chicken Fat or Margarine
1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper
2-4 tablespoons Brandy, to moisten


Put the Chicken fat and Onions in a large skillet, over a low flame. Cook, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes, probably an hour. This is the most important step in making good Chopped Liver. The Onions must cook very slowly, so they caramelize and brown thoroughly. If you brown them over too high a heat, you will not get the full flavor. When done, they will have shrunk to a fraction of their original size and be very brown, but not burned.

Spray the rack of a broiling pan with Vegetable Oil. Place the Livers on the rack, pierce with a knife, and broil until the juices stop running from them. At this point, add the Chicken Livers to the Onions, and raise the heat slightly. Cook and stir the mixture, until the Livers are done. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.

The final step is most easily done in the food processor with a metal blade. Put the Liver mixture, Eggs, Seasoned salt, Lemon Pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the Brandy in the bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not smooth. Good Chopped Liver is not a paste, and you should be able to recognize the individual ingredients. For that reason, do not just turn the processor on. It will make puree in seconds. If it seems at all dry, add a bit more brandy and stir. Chill this thoroughly before serving, so the flavors have time to blend.

Note: If you would like to make a “Vegetarian Chopped Liver”, substitute 1˝ pounds finely chopped Mushrooms, and 1 cup ground Walnuts for the Liver in this recipe. Just cook them with the Onions, until they are thoroughly browned.

Copyright 2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah

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