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Nov 1, 2008 12:23 PM

Chopped beef liver

My husband and I have discussed my mother's recipe for chopped beef liver. My mother would make chopped beef liver by starting with calf ro beef liver and steaming it in the top part of a two part pot. While steaming the liver[about 2 pounds] she would include one whole white onion. In the bottom part of the steamer she would boil 4 eggs. After about a half an hour every thing was done. My mother had one of those truly old food grinders and would start wit the onion and include one slice of white bread. Next she would do the eggs and follow up with one slice of white bread. Lastly she would grind the steamed liver followed by 1-2 slices of white bread. (I use a food processor and it works better than the old food grinder which one would attach to a table and cause a lot of leaking from the ingredients). She would then add a little mustard, some salt, pepper, a little garlic powder and mix in about one half a cut of mayonaise. She would then stir the mixture. If it was too stiff and dry she would add a small amount of the water from the steamed mixture and a little more mayonaise. If the mixture was too loose, she would add another slice of bread. She would allow it to rest for about an hour or over night. I often make this for myself and it is delicious. My mother got this recipe because she used to work for Jewish people in Brooklyn and this is how she was taught to make this delicious. My husband claims that no one makes chopped beef/calf liver by steaming rather than boiling, frying or broiling the liver. Please help me settle this issue. PS- I also make my potato salad by steaming my potatoes. Not for nothing, my husband alleges that both foods are delicious. I learned how to make this directly from my mother and love it. Its really finger licking good. Please help.


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  1. The Jewish chopped liver I have experienced used sauted beef liver, sauted onions and a few eggs combined with mayonnaise. There's no reason not to steam the liver and onions but I believe the sauted variety makes a tastier dish.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      I'm a little curious about the bread. I've known some folks who use bread as a means for clearing out (cleaning) the meat grinder after various ingredients are processed but I don't recall ever seeing bread ground into the chopped liver mix.

      1. re: todao

        My mother was born in 1909. Folks of her generation never threw away anything. Yes, she placed it in the chopped beef mixture as well.

      2. re: todao

        i'll give it a try and see if ther is a difference. thanks

      3. Jewish chopped liver does NOT include mayonnaise; chicken fat (schmaltz) is used as a binder. You can use sauteed beef, calve's liver or chicken livers (my preference) or a combination, with chopped onion, chopped hard boiled egg and fried onions. Great to eat, not so good for your diet.

        1 Reply
        1. re: EllenMM

          Please understand, I am not Jewish. This was my mother's recipe that I remember making with her. Could mayo or its equivalent been a substitution used in the 1940"s, I wonder? Thanks for replying and advising

        2. I'm a big (originally NYC area) Lutheran fan of sauteed liver and onion, as well as chopped liver, but the idea of steaming or boiling it is, well, repellent to me. It can't possibly smell or taste as good as sauteeing the meat and onion before grinding it with egg and schmaltz. I've tried it with mayo...uh, never again. Wrong flavor, wrong consistency. But I'm with you on steaming the potatoes - matter of fact, I never boil a potato or any other vegetable. The steamer is faster, preserves flavor, and conserves energy.

          Even though you and hubby are happy with your current recipe, I suggest you try sauteeing. Schmaltz can be found frozen in some supermarkets and delis, or you can make your own by saving uncooked chicken skin and slowly rendering it, preferably with onion. Not the preferred method, but congealed fat from atop homemade chicken stock will do nicely as a schmaltz stand-in.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious

            Thanks. i'll give it a try with the Schmaltz. For years I've eaten the chopped liver with mayo and loved it. I passed it on to others, i.e., our son. Hopefully he will pass the recipe on to his little ones. But I am going to try all the different ideas and will report back.

            The liver and onion are steamed and never boiled. Boiling meat I think just makes it horrible.

          2. I don't know if I can help you because I, too, am in search of this old recipe. I am not interested in the traditional Jewish chopped liver, made with sauteed chicken livers, or the sophisticated liver pate recipes that I keep finding. My grandmother was French Canadian, raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts and lived for quite a while in New York City, so I don't know where her recipe originated -- whether it was French or inspired by Jewish recipes. But I do know that she used beef/calf liver and did not fry it. She did use hard boiled eggs and raw onion and she did use a meat grinder to make it. I recall her discussing her recipe one time and saying that she ground the liver, eggs, and onion together and mixed some mayonnaise into it. What resulted was not the strong (albeit good) chopped liver that most people know. It was milder and creamier, and she would use it as a spread with white sandwich bread. All of us kids (many, many grandchildren) LOVED it! I would love to taste this once again, but I'm not sure how she cooked the liver (boiling or steaming seems the closest) or how much of each ingredient she used. As for the white bread -- that sounds like something Meme would do also. But I do not know. Anyone else out there with Meme's recipe?

            1. My mother's version was to broil the liver then saute with onions. She used bread to clean out the grinder but never put the bread in the chopped liver. She would also grind hard boiled eggs into it. The recipe was her mother's and her mother's going back several generations. There was no mayonnaise involved, only chicken schmaltz.