Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, is right around the corner. I just got a email from my mother-in-law, Nancy, letting me know she's making her special chopped liver for the Rosh Hashanah dinner. I so wish I could could be there. Bubbe makes the best chopped liver!
Bubbe (the Jewish word for grandma, pronounced “buh-bee”) told me, “Every Jewish holiday (except Yom Kippur) revolves around food. All the Jewish holidays tell the same story: ‘They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat.'”
Bubbe explained: “The Jews were always persecuted. So they survived the best they could. It's about family and it's about tradition. And it's about connecting. And it's all about special traditional foods.”
So you're not Jewish. Feh! So what, I say! Who says you can't enjoy a bissel kosher nosh?
I myself am not Jewish. I'm what you would call a shiksa. However, I have been dubbed an “honorary Jew” by many of my Jewish friends. Maybe it's because I grew up in New York (until I was 7 and we moved to Texas). Maybe it's my abiding love of classic Woody Allen movies (“Jew. Jew eat?” — Annie Hall).
Or the fact that for years I hosted what I called a “Jewau” — a Jewish luau. Replete with Hawaiin leis, grass skirts, and yarmulkes. I served mai tais and pina coladas along with bagels and schmear, brisket and pineaple kugel. Oy gevult, those were the days! When I was single and had time for such mishegas.
You will not believe how geshmak this chopped liver is. I get verkelmpt just thinking about it! I had chopped liver a while back at our local deli (there are a lot of NY Jewish delis in Los Angeles) and it was just eh. Nothing like this! Bubbe's chopped liver doesn't taste like liver at all. I'm telling you, you're going to love it so much, you'll plotz!
Bubbe's Chopped Liver
- Chicken livers, ideally pastured but at least free range organic (1 pound)
- Chicken fat (schmaltz), duck fat or refined, expeller-pressed coconut oil, (2-3 TBS) — don't use butter or lard — Jews don't mix meat & dairy, and they don't use pork products
- Large yellow or white onion (1/2)
- Hardboiled egg (1)
- Loaf sprouted or real sourdough bread (1) — if you are gluten-free, use gluten-free bread
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Hard boil one egg, let cool, and set aside.
2. Dice 1/2 onion and set aside.
3. Melt 1-2 tablespoons chicken fat, duck fat or refined coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
4. Add the chicken livers and cook for just a minute or two on each side. Don't overcook — they will taste bad if you do. They should still be pink in the middle when you remove them from the heat. Cut one open to check.
5. Strain the fat off into the garbage (or put in a bowl to give to the birds) and transfer the chicken livers into your food processor or large mixing bowl and set aside. Note: Straining the fat is the secret trick that helps the chopped liver not be so liver-y tasting.
6. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel.
7. Heat 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft.
8. Pour the onions with the fat (don't strain) into the food processor or mixing bowl with the chicken livers.
9. Chop up the hardboiled egg and add to the mix.
10. Tear up 1/2 of the slice of bread and add to the mix.
11. Pulse or mash with a fork until it is incorporated. Do not overmix; you don't want a puree. It should have a choppy, rustic consistency.
12. Salt and pepper to taste.
13. Add more bread (up to one slice) if it is too wet.
14. Serve with warm bread (sprouted bread, real sourdough or gluten-free). Bubbe always serves chopped liver as an appetizer on Jewish holidays.
Equipment Needed for This Recipe
Optional: Food processor– or mix with a wooden spoon and/or potato masher or fork