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Traditional Chopped Liver


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Traditional Chopped Liver


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Traditional Chopped Liver


  • Ready Time : 0 min


3 cup (s)s


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken livers
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons Chicken Schmaltz
  • 3 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound), 1 peeled but left whole with the root end intact, the rest finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped


Begin by cleaning the livers.  Rinse each under cold running water.  With a sharp knife, separate the two lobes.  But away any visible fat, membrane or green patches on the livers. Place in a strainer to drain.

Meanwhile, heat the schmaltz in  a large 10 or 12 inch heavy pan (I prefer cast iron).  Add the chopped onions and saute, over medium-high heat, until soft and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.  Add the cleaned, drained livers and saute until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.  Add the salt and black pepper.  Allow any liquid that the livers release to evaporate as they cook.  Remove from the heat and cool.

If using a wooden chopping bowl, transfer the cooked livers and onions to it.  using a metal chopping blade, chop the cooked livers into small dice.  Some of the livers will break up to mush, other will hold their shape.  The goal is to attain a spreadable combination fo small pieces and paste. If not suing a chopping bowl, chope each liver by hand on a cutting board using a very shapr knife, and transferto a miing bowl.  Add tehc hopped eggs, mix well, and adjust the seaoing with addiotinal salt and pepper. if necessary.  Adding more schmaltz will smooth out the flavor of the liver and the texture.  Use your judgement.  The chopped lvier cna be made up to two days in advance and referigerated at this point.

On the day of serving, remove the liver form the refrigerator.  Using a handheld box grater, grate the remaining onion into the liver, holding on to the root end to leverage.  mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning, which will have changed after sitting and chilling.

About Mitchell Davis


Mitchell Davis is a cookbook author and food journalist with a Ph.D. in Food Studies from New York University. He is President of the James Beard Foundation and lives in NYC. The recipes he provided for this site are originally printed in The Mensch Chef cookbook.




One Response to Traditional Chopped Liver

  1. avatar says: Blitz

    Your recipe is similar to the one my mother (and Bubbe) taught me, except that they used an old fashioned meat grinder instead of the “hocker.” My mother later decided to stop using schmaltz. Instead she sauted the onions and liver in 1/2 oil and 1/2 water. Everyone seems to love our recipe. I may try the “hocker” this year!

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