Rich, savory chopped liver is a traditional Jewish dish that brings back fond food memories for many families. The history of chopped liver goes back to Medieval Germany, where Ashkenazi Jews bred and raised geese as the poultry of choice. The first Jewish chopped liver recipes were actually made from goose liver.
It’s hard to figure out exactly how chopped liver came to be so deeply connected with Eastern European Jewish cuisine. Many have speculated that because Jews were often poor, they ate every part of a chicken in order to be thrifty, including parts like the liver that would otherwise seem unappetizing. It may be that chopped liver was common among German, Polish, or Russian non-Jews at one point, and the recipe was simply adopted by the Jewish community in those countries.
"What Am I, Chopped Liver?
Ever heard the phrase, "What am I, chopped liver?" As far as we know, the origins of that phrase are not Yiddish, but was originally coined in America. Being that chopped liver was always considered a side dish and not a main course, the phrase is used to express hurt and amazement when a person feels he has been overlooked and treated just like a "side dish."
Side dish or not, chopped liver has been embraced by Jews of all generations as well as other ethnic groups. Hundreds of pounds each week are made in Sarge's Murray Hill kitchen. Want to learn how to make it yourself? Here's the recipe.
Sarge’s Chopped Liver Recipe
- 3 lbs chicken livers*
- Oil for cooking
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large onions, diced
Place chicken livers in pan coated with oil. Sautée until dry. In another pan, sautée onions until they are caramelized and soft. Once livers are cool, put them in a food processor and chop until smooth, but not pureed. Then add onions into the food processor, and pulsate the mixture until it gets to a consistency you like. You can also use a large wooden bowl and a hand chopper instead of a food processor to avoid pulverizing the livers. Some prefer a chunkier chopped liver, others like it smoother and pate-like. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Raw livers, even from a kosher animal, are not inherently kosher. Click here to find more information about broiling a liver to make it kosher.
For an “old-world” taste: Instead of oil, sautée the livers in schmaltz (rendered chicken fat).
For a less greasy dip: Leave out oil, and broil the livers instead of sautéeing them.
For egg-lovers: Add about 6 hard-boiled eggs to the mixture, together with the onions.
For a moister consistency: Add about 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or to taste.
For veggie-lovers: Replace 1 lb. of the liver with 8 oz. of chopped mushrooms, and add 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley.
If you don't have the time to make Chopped Liver yourself, you can always have Sarge's Chopped Liver delivered right to your door. Sarge's offers both local delivery and nationwide delivery of our famous Chopped Liver as well as all of other other traditional Jewish dishes. You can also have Sarge's cater your Passover meal, or any other holiday or event.