7.1 Chopped Liver & Egg and Onion
Chopped liver is both a culinary staple and a bona fide treat — the Jewish equivalent of pâté de foie gras. It is eaten as a starter with pickled cucumbers and matzo crackers, and often served with egg and onion.
Traditional chopped liver is made with calf’s liver, a scarce commodity at the best of times, and one that kosher butchers grudgingly ration out only to their favoured regulars. Pairing it with the egg and onion helps the dish stretch a little further (and happens to be pretty tasty too). Although purists would baulk at anything other than calf’s liver, I’m not averse to a half-and-half blend of calf and chicken, or even using solely chicken or beef liver.
In days of yore, the most important ingredient, after the liver, was schmaltz. No, not romantic flim-flam, but rendered chicken fat flavoured with onion. Schmaltz has fallen out of favour in these cholesterol-conscious times, so vegetable oil it is.
Should there be any left over, a chopped liver sandwich on rye bread is the food of kings.
- For the chopped liver
- 750 g calf’s, chicken or beef liver, or any combination you wish
- 1½ medium onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or schmaltz)
- Salt and ground white pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying
- For the egg and onion
- 6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
- ½ medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 spring onions, white and green parts finely sliced
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper
- Start with the egg and onion so you only need to wash the mincer once. (A little extra egg in your chopped liver is not a problem.) Mince the six hard-boiled eggs into a bowl.
- Add the chopped onion and sliced spring onions and mix together.
- Stir in the vegetable oil and the mayonnaise, season with salt and white pepper and serve.
- To make the chopped liver, trim the liver and cut it into 5cm square pieces.
- Fry the liver in vegetable oil until it is cooked through. Not pink, but not rock hard. Remove from the pan and set aside while you fry the onions.
- Fry the sliced onions in vegetable oil over a high heat until they are well browned.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Pass the liver, hard boiled eggs and onions through the mincer and mix them together.
- Pass the mixture through the mincer for a second time, then stir in two tablespoons of vegetable oil or schmaltz.
- Check the seasoning; it needs to be slightly salty when warm or it will be a bit bland when cold. Add a little more vegetable oil or schmaltz if necessary to achieve a good spreading consistency.
- The egg and onion and the chopped liver can be served separately or together, accompanied by plenty of matzo crackers and new green pickled cucumbers.
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