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Chopped Liver That’s As Good As Your Bubbe’s

“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.

chopped liver on a festive platter

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 that tradtional one, but I love that it has the same rich flavor but is a bit elevated thanks to a splash of cognac.

This simple recipe, adapted from Tartine Bread is totally rustic and yet, well, let’s just say, it ain’t just chopped liver. Unlike my Jewish grandmother’s chopped liver, it contains butter instead of schmaltz (although you can totally use schmaltz if you’re looking for a dairy-free meal). It also uses a food processor rather than a food mill for grinding.

You Don’t Need a Lot of Ingredients To Make the Best Chopped Liver

It seems like it would be difficult and time consuming to make, but this recipe only takes about 20 minutes. The ingredients are all basic and easy to find, save the one that elevates this version to something really special. This easy recipe requires just a few ingredients:

  • Chicken livers
  • Olive Oil
  • Thyme
  • Shallots
  • Butter (or schmaltz)
  • Cognac (ooh! fancy!)
  • Salt

I like to serve it on sliced baguette or crackers.

However you slice it, this is no forgettable dish of chopped liver. I like to serve it on Jewish holidays.

Check out our Vegetarian Chopped Liver, too! Our super moist Honey Cake is another favorite Jewish holiday recipe!

More Jewish holiday recipes you’ll love

Yield: Serves 8

Chopped Liver

chopped liver
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • For the paté:
  • 1 pound chicken livers, rinsed, trimmed of all fat and connective tissue and soaked in milk for 2-4 hours
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 small shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or schmaltz), at room temperature, divided
  • ½ cup cognac
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the cognac butter:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  • pinch of kosher salt


  1. To make the pa
  2. 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.
  3. 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 butter and ¼ cup of the cognac. Stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and let cool to room temperature. When livers are at room temperature, add the 4 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 1/4 cup of cognac and process in the food processor until smooth.
  5. Transfer the puree to 4 4-ounce ramekins or a terrine large enough to hold it all
  6. To make the cognac butter:
  7. Put the 3 tablespoons of butter in a bowl and microwave 30 to 45 seconds, until melted.
  8. Add the cognac and salt and stir to combine.
  9. Before serving, pour the butter in an even layer over the pate (dividing evenly if using ramekins). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (it will keep well in the refrigerator and can be frozen, as well).
  10. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 307Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 356mgSodium 212mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 16g

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