I used to help in our family restaurant. I love good food and enjoy thinking up creative ways to cook and use leftovers to avoid food waste.
A Simple Recipe for a Traditional Jewish Favorite
Chopped liver is, in effect, a chicken liver pate. The whole preparation and cooking process from start to finish only takes 15 minutes.
I would particularly recommend this recipe for beginner cooks, as there are so few ingredients and not much can go wrong, except perhaps making the texture too smooth by over-blending. The version I know and love has a slightly lumpy texture.
Chopped liver is not only versatile but also slimming—it's great for snacks, starters, a complete meal or a packed lunch!
A Perfect Anytime Snack
We always used to look forward to having this whenever my family travelled from London to visit my mother in Spain—if we arrived in Spain on the night plane, we could always be sure that she would have a plate of chopped liver waiting for us, whatever time we arrived.
It was a great convenience food, as she could make it earlier in the day and then, as it is eaten cold, she could produce it at whatever time of night we turned up, knowing that we would love it, and were looking forward to our favorite snack, spread on whatever she had to hand, be it bread, biscuits, or Ryvita (although traditionally eaten with matzos, which is unleavened bread, matzos would not be readily available in small Spanish food markets).
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- Large pan for frying
- Tablespoon for mixing and measuring
- Blender or mincer
- Small egg saucepan
Note: Don't Worry if You Haven't Got Suitable Equipment
In the olden days before blenders and mincers were available, people would simply mash the ingredients, because the final product is supposed to be a bit lumpy and not a smooth paste.
However, life is much easier if you do have a blender or food processor—I use my Magimix almost every day. It does so many things: it can grate, slice things thickly or thinly, mix pastry and thick sauces, and blend things like soup, puree or pate. My machine has been very hard-wearing and I have had it for over 35 years. Not bad, eh?
- 1 lb / 0.5 kilo chicken livers
- 1 large or 2 small onions
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or schmaltz (chicken fat)
- 2 eggs
- A sprinkling salt and pepper, to taste
Optional and non-traditional ingredients:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 clove
- A sprinkling mixed herbs
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sherry, marsala or brandy
I would just mention that my family version of this recipe has slightly moved away from the traditional version, in that I add a little garlic, spice and a small quantity of alcohol, which gives it a slight tang. These three additional ingredients are, of course, optional.
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- Fry the onion on a low heat in a large pan for 3 or 4 minutes until it has lightly browned.
- Whilst the onion is frying, remove any bitter gall or bits of heart from the liver (if you are not sure what to remove, just fish out any lumpy bits that don't look like liver).
- Remove the fried onion and put it in the blender at this stage, or otherwise just move the fried onion to one side of the pan and add the liver. Add seasoning. Continue frying and turning the liver for 3 to 5 minutes until it is just cooked. Frying it on a fairly high heat will brown and slightly crisp it on the outside, and leave it pale pinky-brown. on the inside--browning the onions and liver in this way gives it a nice strong caramelly flavour.
- When cooked, empty the mixture into a blender and put one tablespoonful of water and a tablespoonful of alcohol into the pan, swill the pan round to pick up the remains of fried liver, then pour it over the mixture in the blender. Blend it by running the blender in a couple of short bursts, so that the mixture is still lumpy, not smooth.
- Whilst the liver is cooking, hard-boil two eggs for 5 to 8 minutes, then run them under cold water to make them easy to peel. Add one peeled hard-boiled egg to the blended liver and give it a short burst on the blender, so that the liver and egg are combined but still slightly lumpy and the bits of egg show through, Turn out the mixture into a suitable dish or container. Then give the second peeled egg a quick blast on the blender so that it is still lumpy, not smooth. Then sprinkle that egg over the top of the chopped liver as a garnish.
- Put it in the refrigerator or serve immediately.
Serving Suggestions: Matzo, Ryvita, Fresh Bread or Toast
Chopped liver is also nice on its own, and makes a slimming meal
As a traditional Jewish dish, chopped liver is often eaten with schmaltz (chicken fat) spread thinly on matzos. Orthodox Jews would not eat chopped liver with butter, as their religious food rules prohibit eating milk and meat in the same meal.
However, in my opinion, you don't need any additive with chopped liver and you can spread it directly onto whatever you are having without butter or schmaltz. Either way, it's quite a slimming meal.
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© 2010 Diana Grant