Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chopped liver with schmaltz and gribenes (aka Jewish bacon)

If you're a Mark's Daily Apple Reader, you may have seen this on Monday when it was posted for the 2012 recipe video contest. In any case, some people asked for a text version of the recipe, so here you go.

I've posted healthier versions of traditional Jewish dishes before such as blintzes and Passover macaroons. This one is far from low-calorie, but chicken livers are incredibly nutrient-dense and hey, at least it's low-carb! If you'd like to try your hand at making organ meats but are intimidated to do so, this is the perfect "offal wuss" recipe: everything gets thrown in the food processor at the end, and any mistakes can be covered up with luscious chicken fat! I cooked some diced chicken fat to make schmaltz (rendered liquid fat) and gribenes (cracklings). If you don't want to bother with this, duck fat or ghee would make an ideal substitute, and even cooking oil can be used in a pinch. Of course that means that you won't be able to top it with gribenes -- "Jewish bacon" -- but it will still be delicious. I like to scoop it up with celery sticks, but you can be adventurous and make crackers or faux rye bread.

If you're still intimidated, I made an instructional video so that you can see what it should look like at each step of the process:

Question: Would you like to see more video blogs? Please let me know in the comments! The production quality on this one is admittedly low because I had to make the contest deadline and uh, I procrastinated. Future videos would be more polished with better lighting. If you have any examples of your favorite cooking videos on other sites, please let me know and I'll check them out for inspiration.

In any case, here's the recipe!

Serves 6-8 people as an appetizer*

  • 1 lb chicken livers (preferably Kosher, they taste better)
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced (I used the slicing disk of my food processor)
  • 4 eggs, boiled and peeled
  • Fat and skin from one or more chickens, diced small or snipped into small pieces with kitchen shears (optional: see recipe description for substitutes)
  • Minced parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. If using chicken fat, place it in a cold skillet on low heat. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring if it starts to stick together, until the liquid fat is rendered and the cracklings are crisp. Strain to separate the schmaltz and gribenes and set both aside.
  2. Heat some of the chicken fat over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until sticky and thoroughly caramelized.
  3. Saute the chicken livers over medium-high heat in a skillet in some of the chicken fat. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Transfer the livers and eggs to a food processor bowl with lots of salt and pepper. Pulse until coarsely chopped but still spreadable, scraping down the sides as needed. 
  5. Transfer to a mixing bowl and combine the mixture with the onions as well as any remaining chicken fat. Taste and correct seasoning.
  6. To serve, mound it on a plate and top with the gribenes (cracklings) and parsley. Serve with celery sticks or crackers for dipping.
*Serves 6-8 normal people. In my family (including my chopped-liver-crazed indoctrinated-goy husband) it serves maybe one person.


Juliet said...

1. I like the video!
2. I hope this isn't creepy but you have GREAT arms! All that punching pays off, eh?!

Erica said...

Thank you! Haha yes punching things (and people) pays off!! Especially heavy bag burnouts. I don't do any arm exercises (unless you count chest/back compound stuff) but boxing is killer.

Andrew said...

Videos are great! Except couldn't see the liver shots as it was too dark.

Erica said...

I agree about the lighting; the sun went down while we were filming and I wasn't prepared for it :( Next time I will film earlier.

And that's the first time I've heard the phrase "liver shot" outside of boxing ;)

Doug said...

Please make more videos! This was fantastic.

albarod said...

Wow that looks delish!! Can't wait to try it! Thanks for the video!!!

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