Citizens, growing up Jewish means that chopped chicken liver is a taste of fond memory, near and dear to your beloved Dictator’s gastronomically-elevated soul.
That said, there are many other variations to the classic trope of chopped liver, and this elegant version comes straight from the beating heart of Germany and many wealthy Jews of old enjoyed this upscale take on the classic “down-home” version of chopped liver that their poor cousins in the shtetls ate on a regular basis.
I found this recipe in my latest cookbook purchase – The German Jewish Cookbook, by Gabrielle and Sonya Gropman.
As noted in the description on Amazon:
This cookbook features recipes for German-Jewish cuisine as it existed in Germany prior to World War II, and as refugees later adapted it in the United States and elsewhere. Because these dishes differ from more familiar Jewish food, they will be a discovery for many people. With a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, this indispensable collection of recipes includes numerous soups, both chilled and hot; vegetable dishes; meats, poultry, and fish; fruit desserts; cakes; and the German version of challah, Berches.
These elegant and mostly easy-to-make recipes range from light summery fare to hearty winter foods. The Gropmans—a mother-daughter author pair—have honored the original recipes Gabrielle learned after arriving as a baby in Washington Heights from Germany in 1939, while updating their format to reflect contemporary standards of recipe writing.
Six recipe chapters offer easy-to-follow instructions for weekday meals, Shabbos and holiday meals, sausage and cold cuts, vegetables, coffee and cake, and core recipes basic to the preparation of German-Jewish cuisine.
Some of these recipes come from friends and family of the authors; others have been culled from interviews conducted by the authors, prewar German-Jewish cookbooks, nineteenth-century American cookbooks, community cookbooks, memoirs, or historical and archival material. The introduction explains the basics of Jewish diet (kosher law). The historical chapter that follows sets the stage by describing Jewish social customs in Germany and then offering a look at life in the vibrant émigré community of Washington Heights in New York City in the 1940s and 1950s.
Citizens, I’ve made a few minor changes to this recipe – adding/substituting a different set of garnishes, but otherwise this is the recipe as preserved by the Gropmans. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 1 lb. Chicken livers, rinsed, dried and cut into similar-sized pieces
- ½ cup dry sherry (TFD recommends Amontillado)
- 7 tablespoons of goose, duck or chicken fat, divided
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¼ tsp. ground white or black pepper
- 1 ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp. brandy
- Some pink, black and white peppercorns for garnish (original recipe called for black only)
- Some thyme sprigs for garnish
- Some Maldon-style sea salt flakes
- Some borage (preferred) or fresh thyme flowers for garnish (optional but recommended)
- Sieved chopped egg yolk from one egg, for garnish (original garnish from recipe)
- Sieved chopped egg white from one egg, for garnish (original garnish from recipe)
- Black olivers, minced, for garnish (original garnish from recipe)
- Rye bread or melba toast crackers for serving
- Put the livers in a small bowl and add the sherry. Gently toss to moisten them all. Cover the bowl, place in the refrigerator, and let marinate for 2-4 hours, tossing the livers several times. Drain and discard the sherry.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and melt 6 tbsp. of the fat. When the fat is hot, add the onion, decrease the heat to low, and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, until the garlic become fragrant and the onion is starting to brown. Push the onions and garlic to one side of the pan, add the livers and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika and nutmeg. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the livers are brown on the outside and slightly pink on the inside, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor, add the remaining tablespoon fat and the brandy, and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings and blend again.
- Transfer the pâté to a serving bowl or decorative container, smooth the top with the back of a spoon, cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve the appetizers.
- When you are ready to serve the appetizers, decorate the top of the pâté with the toppings and serve with rye bread or crackers.
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 398.14 kcal
- Sugar: 1.9 g
- Sodium: 462.55 mg
- Fat: 28.19 g
- Saturated Fat: 8.67 g
- Trans Fat: 0.07 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.85 g
- Fiber: 1.28 g
- Protein: 19.92 g
- Cholesterol: 410.26 mg
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