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Mama’s Chopped Chicken Liver

If you need more information about any of the cooking terms or equipment requested, just go to Kitchen Management.

Special Equipment

  • 12-inch, heavy-bottomed skillet
  • Food processor or a long sharp chef’s knife

Ingredients:

  • 3 extra-large eggs, firm-cooked and peeled (see step # 1)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons Rendered Chicken Fat
  • 2 extra-large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or more chicken fat
  • 1 pound very fresh chicken livers rinsed, patted dry and any connective tissue removed with a knife
  • Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • As Garnish:
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion or 1 medium yellow onion sautéed in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until deeply caramelized, about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  • 1 sprig of curly parsley or crisp Gribenes

1) To firm-cook eggs: Place eggs into a 2-quart saucepan. Run enough cold water into the pot to cover eggs by 2 inches. (Don’t run water directly over eggs as the pressure from the tap can cause the eggs to crack.) Place pan, uncovered, over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to bubble, sprinkle in a generous teaspoon of salt. (The salt cushions the eggs from each other as the water begins to move more aggressively.) Bring water to a full boil, cover pan and remove from heat. Let pan sit undisturbed for 15 minutes. Drain and immediately run eggs under cold water until just cool enough to handle. One at a time, tap each egg with the back of a spoon all over to crack the shell. Gently roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Peel off shells and discard. (The yolks of hard-cooked eggs should be bright, bright yellow (almost orange); any greenish film or pungent odor, indicates an overcooked egg.)

2) To caramelize onions: Melt chicken fat in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, stir to coat with the fat and cook until softened and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and, if desired, add a pinch of sugar. Cook the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 25 minutes (I use really large onions, so this takes a while…).

3) To cook chicken livers: When onions are golden, push them to the sides of the skillet and in the center melt the 2 tablespoons butter or add more fat. When hot and bubbling, add chicken livers in a single layer and sear until very golden on one side, about 5 minutes over high heat. Turn the livers over and sear briefly on the second side then cover the pan and reduce the heat to very low. Cook until the livers are just cooked through but retain some pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Uncover skillet, raise heat to high and fold the onions and livers together, scraping up any caramelized bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook about 2 more minutes over high heat. Season the mixture with salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

4) To process livers: Pour the contents of the skillet into a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add hard-cooked eggs and 1 teaspoon salt. Process mixture using on-off pulses until finely chopped but still somewhat textural. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and fresh pepper until well seasoned. Alternatively, mince cooked livers with onions on a large chopping board using a sharp chef’s knife and mash the cooked eggs separately; combine livers, onions, eggs and seasoning.

5) To chill: Turn mixture into a crock or pretty bowl and cover with paper toweling until cool enough to refrigerate. Then cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, so the flavors can meld.

6) To serve:An hour before serving, remove chopped liver from refrigerator so that it’s only slightly chilled. Sprinkle the top lightly with salt and pepper and either place some minced onion in a 1-inch border around the edge of the bowl or border the chopped liver with caramelized onions. If you’ve got them, you can also sprinkle the top with crisp Gribenes.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 3 extra-large eggs, firm-cooked and peeled (see step # 1)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons Rendered Chicken Fat
  • 2 extra-large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or more chicken fat
  • 1 pound very fresh chicken livers rinsed, patted dry and any connective tissue removed with a knife
  • Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • As Garnish:
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion or 1 medium yellow onion sautéed in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until deeply caramelized, about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  • 1 sprig of curly parsley or crisp Gribenes

From the refrigerated section:

  • Extra-large eggs

From the frozen-food section:

  • Rendered chicken fat

From the produce section:

  • Large yellow onions
  • Garlic

From the dairy case:

  • Unsalted butter (if not using all chicken fat)

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Sugar (just a pinch…)

From the meat shelf:

  • 1 pound very fresh, firm chicken livers
Comments (4)

4 Comments »

  1. Great!!! This has everything I use, except for a splash of brandy or, better, cognac!!

    Try it, you’ll like it!!

    Comment by Barbara — January 25, 2012 @ 2:07 am

  2. Lauren: I came in the middle of a rerun of you and Julia Child cooking chicken livers. I am delighted to find you with your own site and many other recipes to choose from. I am going to the store right now to get everything I need for the chicken liver pate. Whowah!

    Comment by Kate Gregg — September 15, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  3. Oh, thank you, Kate! This recipe has made my family very (very, very) happy for a long time! Enjoy–and please let me know how you like it!

    Comment by Lauren — October 23, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

  4. Lauren, I’ve made this several times, and it’s as good as my grandmothers was! – we all love it. I bought two pounds of chicken livers, which have been defrosted. Once its prepared, can I freeze part of it?

    many thanks-

    Comment by Nadia — April 17, 2015 @ 1:00 am

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