Chopped Chicken Liver

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I had a yen for pâté recently and remembered bookmarking a recipe by Melissa Joulwan (blogger & author of Well Fed 1 and 2) for Chopped Liver, so decided to give it a go. I love her recipes because Ms Joulwan is not afraid of a good spicing. Apparently chopped liver is a common Jewish side dish, and the saying “What am I, chopped liver?,” spoken in a haughty tone, conveys indignance at being treated as a side dish. Frankly, if someone were going to treat me as a side dish, I’d be happy if it were one as nutrient dense as Chopped Liver. It’s a lot easier to make than pâté and can be made dairy-free (depending on the fat used). The most tedious part was removing the stringy bits from the livers, but with a bit of imagination, the time passes quicker if one pretends one is performing a chicken autopsy.

Chopped liver makes a great breakfast food and would also be perfect for picnics. It reminds me of the kind of food that was recommended for children before people got all weird about organ meat.

I tweaked the original recipe a bit, using schmaltz as the fat. I also added some garlic and a pinch of nutmeg. Instead of the caraway seeds, I would use thyme next time as I wasn’t a big fan of the chewy texture of the caraway seeds.

Chopped Liver

Serves 4

  • 2 – 3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (schmalz) (or fat of your choice: ghee, lard, duck fat)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g chicken livers
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or caraway seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (or madeira or sherry)
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Remove stringy veins and sinews from the livers.
  2. In a non-stick frying pan, cook the onion in a bit of the chicken fat over medium heat until softened and browned. I like to add stock or water (around 40ml at a time) which helps with the cooking process. Add the garlic when the onions are almost ready (to avoid burning the garlic).
  3. When the onions have browned and any added liquid has evaporated, remove onions from the pan and set aside. Add more chicken fat to the pan and brown the chicken livers in batches. Brown the first side, undisturbed, for 2 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side until the livers are cooked but remain a little pink in the middle. Remove the livers and deglaze the pan with brandy (or a little stock/water). Let the livers cool.
  4. In a food processor, blend all ingredients until combined but chunky.
  5. Spread into a storage container and chill for an hour before eating.

Serving Suggestions: Serve in baby cos lettuce leaves with a sprinkling of chopped parsley. If you are keto, feel free to up the amount of fat, which will only make it more luscious.