If there’s one thing Jewish mothers do better than cook, it’s lay on the guilt trip. Jewish guilt is about as well-known as matzah ball soup, and slightly more effective at getting whoever it’s being dished out to get back off their tuchus*.
But there IS one guilt-inducing expression that’s always perplexed me: “Who am I? Chopped Liver?”
Eggs, chicken liver, caramelised onion. What’s not to love?
And yet, “chopped liver” has been relegated, in the vernacular, to something entirely worthless and undeserving of attention.
Well, Jewish mothers and liver lovers rejoice, for I have made it this week’s mission to put the zhuzh** back into this dish. And I tell ya what, the results are enough to turn even the most offal of sceptics over to the schmaltz*** side.
Here’s the recipe…
400g chicken livers (preferably organic)
1 large brown onion, finely sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, also finely sliced
1-2 hard-boiled eggs
Olive oil/chicken or duck fat (schmaltz)
1. Trim the livers of any sinewy or yellowy bits (this will keep the end-result from becoming gross and bitter) and then chop the remaining liver into roughly 1-2cm shapes. Season with salt flakes (this will help draw out excess moisture and result in a well-seasoned finish.
2. Pop the onion slices into a frying pan with some schmaltz/olive oil and fry off on low heat until well caramelised (be patient – this can take around 10-15 mins). At this point, add the garlic slices and cook them off also.
3. Heat a large pan for at least 2-3 mins (you want it to be super hot before you start adding the livers).
4. Add some schmaltz/olive oil to the pan and then start popping in the bits of liver, using tongs. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Turn the livers so that they’re well seared on each side. You may find they’ll start to pop like popcorn and that’ll tell you it’s time to turn. Each piece should take between 1-2 minutes to cook through. Place on some paper towel or chux cloth to drain excess liquid.
5. When all liver has been cooked through, toss it all back into the pan with the caramelised onions (reserve some for garnish if you’d like), dill sprigs and season as needed.
6. Garnish with egg, more caramelised onion and more dill. Feel free to drizzle with olive oil if you’re feeling fancy.
7. Bring naches**** upon you and your family.
* (o: Yiddish) bum
** (o: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) pizzazz
*** (o: Yiddish) Chicken/duck fat. Also, warm-fuzzy
**** (o: Yiddish) more warm-fuzzies
© 2017 Alice Zaslavsky