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Craving for chopped chicken livers

jsl Dec 29, 2004 08:57 PM

Yesterday I had this enormous craving for chopped chicken liver. I live in south Orange County, Ca. which is not a mecca for buying it already made. So I decided I would make it myself. I grew up on this from my Irish mother and English father who loved it. I purchased the ingredients at the local super market. One pound chicken livers, a loaf of New York rye (the best they had) and I already had kosher pickles, Bubbies and TJ's. I sauteed 2 small onions and then added the chicken livers in canola oil. My mother always used chicken fat which I didn't have. I boiled 3 eggs until hard boiled. I then chilled both the livers and onions until they were very cold. I put all, including the eggs in the cuisinart and added salt and pepper. It turned out very well and I was in total bliss, disregarding cholestrol problems. Now, my question is what could I have done to make it even better? I was only using my memory of long ago when my mother made it. Any help will be appreciated because I want to make this again when I have the craving of one of my favorites. Now about the cholesterol, maybe next year.........

  1. t
    Tom from Durham Dec 30, 2004 09:19 PM

    My mom always added a spritz of ketchup and maybe a tablespoon or two of mayo per pound of liver. Don't know how conventional that is, but her chopped liver was to die for, so it definitely worked.

    1. h
      Hugh Lipton Dec 30, 2004 05:11 PM

      Yeah, go for the sdchmaltz. I grew up watching my mother make the "chopped" liver with one of those silver hand fed meat grinders using a coarse blade. I've done it that way also and it makes for a great texture. Using a cuisinart requires a fine touch on the old pulse button and I commend you for your success.

      1. c
        Chuck Dec 30, 2004 04:40 PM

        Schmaltz! Also, a bit of "griv a nans" (rendered chicken skin)which is sort of like crackling. Fantastic flavor. This is perfect for maintaining one's low blood fats.

        1. r
          ruth arcone Dec 30, 2004 02:48 PM

          Forget the cuisinart, it is too easy to overprocess, and you want some texture.

          I learned to make chopped liver by watching a neighbor do it every Friday afternoon, when I was 4 or 5. When I wanted to make it for myself I found I knew how without looking at a recipe. She did it in a wooden bowl with a half-moon chopper. I just use a chef's knife and a cutting board.

          Schmaltz is the way to go.

          1. m
            mrbarolo Dec 30, 2004 11:46 AM

            I don't know about "better" as you seem to have done quite well, but there are endless ways to make it differently, as noted below.

            Certainly, a shot of alcohol in the sauteing phase is very nice. My mother has used everything from dry white wine, to sherry, to cognac or brandy or calvados etc., even port. They all have a very nice effect - all somewhat different from each other.

            I tend to use sherry most often.

            Another stylistic approach is to increase many-fold, the amount of onion. Basically, use 1-2 very large onions and carmelize them over a very low heat for a very long time till they are hugely reduced in volume and quite sweet. This will give you a moister, sweeter, richer final product. Not the drier, more crumbly, meaty traditional chopped liver, but a very worthy variation.

            Then there are the Italian versions masquerading as "crostini." Don't be fooled. It's chopped liver and it can be pretty great. They have a lot of variations as well, but I make one that involved sauteing a few anchovies with the livers, and also ao fair amount of chopped parsely. Again, different, but very good.

            1. w
              Wendy Lai Dec 30, 2004 10:50 AM

              maybe a shot of brandy? I've made chicken liver pate basically the same way you are describing, and the added "edge" that alchol brings really cuts the fattiness and makes the pate stands out.

              1. c
                ChiliDude Dec 30, 2004 07:11 AM

                Oy weh! Such a tsimmis you're making! ...and you're claiming that your Irish mother made this? Get yourself a copy of "Jewish Cooking in America" by Joan Nathan. Try it, you'll like it! It has a great chopped chicken liver recipe in it.

                Forget the schmaltz, use good extra virgin olive oil...yeah, the Jewish people use olive oil. What do you think burned in the Temple for 8 days? Besides, my wife is of Italian heritage. Also, saute 1/4 of a green bell pepper that has been diced with the onion.

                Now, don't process it so fine that it looks like gruel. I use a dough cutter to chop the cooked ingredients in a 3-quart tall-sided saucepan. The result is that one can still see bits of chicken liver and egg white, and it looks rustic like it would have 5765 years ago, the beginning of creation.

                Now I've done it...I gotta run out and get some chicken livers...

                4 Replies
                1. re: ChiliDude
                  Chuck Dec 30, 2004 04:45 PM

                  Chili Dude...I have an Italian wife too. What to the goyum know! You need schmaltz Bro! Sadly, my Mom has relented to the neurosis that is "fat" today.

                  Unlike my Grandmother who would never think to use anything but chicken fat, Mom now uses mayo! It's sacreligious! So, now I wait to visit a Jewish deli and get the real deal.

                  1. re: Chuck
                    ChiliDude Jan 1, 2005 06:18 AM

                    Who do you know that renders schmaltz these days? BTW, olive oil is not quite as deadly as schmaltz.

                  2. re: ChiliDude
                    bryan Dec 30, 2004 05:01 PM

                    Olive oil? Green pepper? Feh. It may be tasty but it is not chopped liver. That's some fancy-ass pate you've got going there. Do you serve it with a nice hot fudge sauce?

                    1. re: bryan
                      ChiliDude Jan 1, 2005 06:15 AM

                      Try it, you'll like it. Hold the fudge sauce!

                  3. d
                    d2u Dec 30, 2004 12:19 AM

                    you have to use chicken fat, which is easily rendered from the fat of a chicken. i just take the raw chicken fat and start slowly cooking it at medium-low heat, until all of the fat is rendered. then i just chill it and keep it airtight in the fridge, use it as a recipe requires. you also could freeze it. the chicken fat that is.

                    1. a
                      applehome Dec 29, 2004 11:12 PM


                      Link: http://www.jewish-food.org/recipes/sc...

                      1. d
                        Dorothy Dec 29, 2004 09:33 PM

                        Make it with chicken fat. Your mom knew what she was doing. If you don't have any, you can buy it in a jar.

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