The lyric for the song “Cry Me A River” should be, “Cry Me A Liver”? “I cried a ‘liver’ over you.” I have shed a tear over a big bowl of raw chicken livers because, let’s face it, chicken livers are pretty gross to touch and deal with. Yet, they are delicious. So delicious that I must delve into the bloody, gooey bits and prepare them.
Faced with a hankering and a need to make chopped liver for my nephew, Kaden’s baptism party, I decided to devise a recipe where I handled the chicken livers the least.
I skipped the deveining and defatting of the raw livers. I find it’s much less off-putting to sink my hands into cooked livers. After slow cooking the onions, I removed them from the pan and cooked off the chicken livers. Once they cooled, I pulled them apart and removed the grisly bits. Then, I chucked them in the food processor with the other ingredients, seasoned them to taste and it was done. The garnish of gribenes, chopped hard boiled egg and dill makes for a striking presentation on an otherwise unattractive dish, but you could skip them.
You may ask, “Why chopped liver for the baptism party? My mom is Italian-Russian-Jewish and my father’s parents are from Jamaica. My paternal grandmother insisted we were baptized Episcopalian, but practiced no other religion and her husband, Grandad, would not step foot in a church.
My immediate family are pretty much atheists, but my relatives like to dabble in religions from time to time. My sister-in-law wanted her kids baptized. I like to appease my Jewish ancestors when we’re performing Christian rites. I figure even if we had a fight about the baptism we’d sit down and eat at some point during the argument and they’d be happier if I at least served chopped liver.
One of my favorite moments over the baptism buffet was when my sister-in-law’s Trinidad mom and grandmother to my nephew exclaimed, “I love chopped liver! Maybe it’s because I’m constantly treated like it?”
- 2 ounces chicken skins,
- 8 ounces yellow onions, sliced thin
- 1 pound raw chicken livers
- 1/3 cup chicken fat and/or olive oil
- 2 - 3 hard-boiled eggs
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh dill. roughly chopped
- Place the chicken skins in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of water and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the skins become golden brown and crispy. Remove the skins from the fat with tongs and drain them in a strainer over a container to catch the fat. When cool, chop up the chicken skins into large crumbs aka gribenes.
- Measure the cooled, leftover chicken fat from the drained skins and the fat in the pan and add more melted chicken fat or olive oil to make 1/4 cup of fat. Return that fat to a medium skillet, over medium-low heat and add the onions. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook them slowly until they are golden brown.
- Remove and reserve the onions. Add the remaining fat to the pan and cook the chicken livers with sal until they are just cooked through. Cool.
- In the food processor, fitted with the steel knife, put the chicken livers, the onions, and 2 of the hard-boiled eggs process until smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Schmear the chopped liver on a plate. To garnish it, chop the third egg (I used an egg slicer and turned the egg a couple of times). Sprinkle with the egg, the chicken skin crumbles and fresh dill. Serve with rye toast points or crackers.