Anyone out there have a very unusual recipe for chopped liver?
I would think this recipe from famed chef Jan Birnbaum from the San Francisco Jewish Magazine "J" is non-traditional and unusual and if you hear your cell phone ringing, it is probably your cardiologist calling.
Chopped Liver Jan’s Way
3 lbs. duck livers
1/2 cup brandy
4 Tbs. mixed chopped herbs (parsley, oregano, rosemary)
2-4 Tbs. Jan’s Seasoning Mix (see below)
2 large onions chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. rendered duck or chicken fat
1/4 tsp. lemon zest, chopped fine
4 egg yolks
4 Tbs. freshly chopped parsley
2 tsp. freshly chopped thyme
Mix the livers in brandy and chopped herbs and marinate for 2 days. Place the livers in a strainer to remove some of the liquid. Season the livers with 1-2 Tbs. spice mix. In a large sauté pan quickly sear the livers in a few Tbs. of the chicken fat. Do not crowd the pan. Cook them at a high temperature so that the outside gets crusty but the inside remains medium-rare. Do not overcook. Remove to a flat pan and refrigerate to stop the cooking. Let them cool to just below room temperature. Don’t let them get too cold.
In a few more Tbs. of the fat, caramelize the onions and the garlic. Season them with a tsp. of the spice mix. Meanwhile melt the rest of the chicken fat. While the fat is hot, add the hot onions and garlic and whisk the yolk in. Be careful to cook the yolks but not scramble them. Grind the livers and onions through fine holes on a meat grinder. To the ground livers, add the zest, parsley, thyme and 1-2 Tbs. spice mix. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Overnight is best.
Jan’s Seasoning Mix | Makes 3/4 cup
8 Tbs. kosher salt
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground white pepper
2 Tbs. paprika
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
Combine all ingredients
1 lb. chicken livers, deveined, washed & dried
1 large or 2 med onion, sliced in half moons
2 hard boiled eggs
EVOO or chicken schmaltz if you dare!
2 T sherry
s&p to taste
In 10-12 in saute pan, heat 2-3 T EVOO or melt schmaltz. Make sure livers are really dry, add to pan, season with s&p, saute 5-8 min. I take them out med rare, but some leave them in till really hard. Remove livers and keep warm. You may need a little more oil or schmaltz if all has cooked away. Carmelize onion by sauteeing them in med hi skillet for 15-20 min. DO NOT LET THEM BURN. They should be soft and a caramel brown color, very fragrant. If you are in rush, you can sprinkle 1 tsp. sugar, but I don't like to do this, it does make onions brown quicker. When finished, return livers to pan. If you are using gas stove, be careful with next step: Add sherry to pan, be careful if it ignites. Let flavors meld in pan 2-3 min. Remove from heat, let cool 10-15 min.
Place entire mixture in 10-12 cup food processor. Add hard boiled eggs and a little more s&p. This next part is tricky: PULSE, do not simply turn on, mixture 6-8 times. Check texture. Every family is unique. We like ours kind of chunky, doesn't take long. If you are going for pate/puree effect, will need longer pulse time. Store in plastic container in fridge. Keeps 2-3 days in fridge, can be frozen for 2-3 weeks.
I don't think you can stray too far from the fold before what you've got is no longer chopped liver. Schmaltz, onion, hard-cooked egg, chicken liver, salt, pepper. You could add truffle or truffle oil if you wanted to gild the richness lily. A TINY bit of balsamic, ginger, hearty mustard, and/or fish sauce would add some zing, if you so desire. These days people seem to want hot chile in everything, but I wouldn't do it to chopped liver.