It’s time for chopped liver to make a comeback. I mean think about it: chefs flaunt their charcuterie and pâtés at places like Bar Boulud in New York and Salt’s Cure here in L.A. And what is chopped liver if not liver pâté’s chunky Jewish cousin? I grew up eating the stuff–my grandmother used to warn (as I mentioned in this old post), “Don’t eat that, it’s an organ meat!”–and to this day I’m not quite sure what she meant by that. But you’ll be surprised–if you put this on your coffee table with some crackers and a few whisky drinks (Craig made Manhattans) it’ll get quickly gobbled up.
Plus, not only is it easy to make, it’s cheap. A pound of chicken livers (which you can usually find tucked away in the poultry section of your supermarket) cost me less than $3. The only other major ingredients are: hard-boiled eggs, sauteed onions, and–if you have it–rendered chicken fat (also known as SCHMALTZ which is fun to say. Side note: when I’d play the piano for my dad, he’d always say, “Schmaltz it up a bit” meaning–make it bigger.)
There’s no need, even, for a formal recipe. Chop up 3 onions. Get a pan hot with 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and add the onions:
Cook ’em for a while, with a sprinkling of salt, until they’re nice and brown. The browner they are, the more flavor your chopped liver will have.
At this point, as you can see, you push the onions aside and add the LIVER (which you should devein the best you can with a paring knife and also pat dry so you get some color):
Sprinkle that liver with salt and here’s the biggest secret about cooking liver: don’t cook it too much. I learned that the hard way in this old post. You want to cook them until they’re brown on the outside and still just pink on the inside. See:
Ok you can’t really see there but I used my wooden spoon to cut into a liver and saw it was pink so took it off the heat. And into a food processor it went:
With 4 hardboiled eggs, quartered (you can cook the eggs however you like; I do the whole “put ’em in cold water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover for 15 minutes, shock in ice water and peel ’em” kinda thing):
Also to this mix you can add some rendered chicken fat (the Schmaltz)–about one tablespoon. I took a piece of chicken fat off the chicken I was using for soup and rendered it in this pan, as you can see here:
That fat went into the mixer; that fried chicken skin went into my mouth (yum). Finally–you pulse just a few times so it stays chunky:
Dude, you made chopped liver. But here’s the thing: tasting it, at this point, it needed a little help. So I added a splash of sherry vinegar and some more salt and pepper until it tasted wonderful. Into a bowl it went, the bowl got covered with plastic and then into the refrigerator it chilled until my guests came. Look how thrilled they are to be eating chopped liver on crackers!
[Yes: those are our friends Mark and Diana who are moving to L.A. at the beginning of January. Woohoo!]
And, true, they don’t look TOTALLY thrilled but you should see how much liver they ate. It’s like slap bracelets; at first, people were like: “Who’d want to slap a bracelet on to their wrist?” And a few months later everyone from Ivana Trump to the Pope was wearing one. Which is why chopped liver is ready for its comeback. “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my cracker.”