Make Chopped Chicken Liver This Hanukkah—You Won't Regret It
This inexpensive appetizer is simple but delicious. Here’s how to make it.
Chopped chicken liver isn’t a dish we tend to associate with Hanukkah. That would be latkes, of course, along with—to a lesser extent—sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts. In my experience, chicken liver is more commonly served during Passover or Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. But as far as I’m concerned, chicken liver goes well with any Jewish holiday, and I don’t see any reason why we can’t serve it while Hanukkah is taking place. Latkes are already indulgent, so what harm is there in having a little liver on the side?
The upside, if you’re interested in making this classic Jewish snack, is that it’s relatively easy to prepare. Chopped chicken liver is much less refined—and also less complicated—than chicken liver pâté or mousse, which typically require more ingredients, such as milk or cream and bourbon.
If you opt for a somewhat minimalist chicken liver, all you’re going to need is onions, hard-boiled eggs, salt, pepper and, of course, chicken livers (which, at about $2 a pound—at my Brooklyn grocery store, at least—are ridiculously cheap). You don’t even need schmaltz (otherwise known as rendered chicken fat), which is hard to find and annoying to make; you can use oil instead (purists be damned).
The first thing you’ll want to do is sauté your livers in a pan with some oil. This can get a bit messy and also kind of gross as the liver juice forms a dark, bubbling puddle, but stay strong; the end result is worth this small amount of trouble. After the liver is cooked through and cooled, throw it into a food processor and pulse it a few times.
Next, cut up an onion and sauté it in a clean pan. I prefer my onions toothsome, but if you like soft, sweet, browned onions, go ahead and let them stew for a while. When the onions are done, set them aside so they can cool. Then mix everything together in a bowl—don't forget the hard-boiled eggs, which at this point you should have mashed up—and add salt and pepper to taste. That’s it. You can, of course, add more ingredients if you’d like, such as garlic for a touch of aromatic goodness. But the basic formula of liver, onions, and egg is the standard.
Spread the mixture on crackers—I like saltines—top with a little coarse salt, and you’ve got yourself a perfect snack to hold you over until it’s time for latkes.