“What am I, chopped liver?” Such an odd colloquialism. The implication, at first glance, being that it is forgettable, not worthy of notice, insignificant.
But when it is good, it is a wonder of culinary genius. It transforms the cheap, “throwaway” parts of an everyday chicken into a luxurious spread worthy of attention.
And therein lies the rub. People tend to overlook chopped liver when in reality, it should be heralded as the star of the show.
Rich and savory, chopped liver is a favorite dish for many Jewish families. I grew up eating a version made with chicken livers, schmaltz (chicken fat), yellow onions, and hard-cooked eggs.
It was on the table for almost every Jewish holiday celebration. This version is a little different from the traditional one, but I love that it has the same rich flavor.
Unlike my Jewish grandmother’s chopped liver, it uses a food processor rather than a food mill for grinding. It’s also elevated with a splash of cognac.
You Don’t Need a Lot of Ingredients To Make the Best Chopped Liver
It seems like it would be difficult and
- Chicken livers
- Olive Oil
- Cognac (ooh! fancy!)
I like to serve it on sliced baguette or crackers (or with matzo for Passover).
However you slice it, this is no forgettable dish of chopped liver.
More Jewish holiday recipes you’ll love
- Honey Cake
- Honey Cookies
- Lemon Coconut Macaroons
- Jewish Beef Brisket
- Meat-Filled Borekas or Pastelicos
- Passover Orange Sponge Cake
- Passover Potato, Tomato, and Olive Stew
- Kreplach with Beef Filling
- Sufganiyot or Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah
- Potato Latkes for Hanukkah
- Classic Chopped Liver
- Vegetarian Chopped Liver
- Check out all of my Jewish Recipes!
- 1 pound chicken livers rinsed, trimmed of all fat and connective tissue and soaked in milk for 2 to 4 hours
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 small shallots chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons schmaltz at room temperature, divided
- ½ cup cognac
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the livers and sear until browned on one side, about 1 minute.
- Turn the livers over, add the shallots to the pan, and continue to cook until the livers are browned on the other side, about 1 minute more. Add the thyme and cook, stirring, for another minute or so. Remove the pan from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of the schmaltz and ¼ cup of the cognac. Stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor and let cool to room temperature. When livers are at room temperature, add the remaining 1/4 cup of schmaltz and the remaining 1/4 cup of cognac and process in the food processor until smooth.
- Transfer the puree to 4 (4-ounce) ramekins or a terrine large enough to hold it all.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (it will keep well in the refrigerator and can be frozen, as well).
- Bring to room temperature before serving.