Cry Me A Liver: Chopped Liver

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Cry Me A Liver: Chopped Liver

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?”

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Chopped Liver

My Jewish ancestors on my mom’s side CHEER when I make chopped liver. It’s funny, my Jamaican, paternal grandfather worked in a Jewish hotel, so he was partial to chopped liver as well. For my paternal grandmother, no trip to Zabar’s was complete without picking up some chopped liver with the good rye bread, the one with the seeds.
Chopped Liver

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Total time:
Yield: 1 pint of chopped liver