Traditional Chopped Liver

Michael Ruhlman says that good chopped liver is “every bit as fine as a French country pâté.” If you are going to go through the trouble of making chopped liver, he adds, buy very fresh livers from a farmers market rather than the grocery store—it makes all the difference. Gribenes are the crispy bits of skin, meat, and tissue that are the delicious byproduct of making schmaltz.

Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3⁄4 cup schmaltz, or more to taste
  • 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound chicken livers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sautéing the liver
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Gribenes (optional)

In a small saucepan, cover the eggs with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water reaches a full boil cover the pan and remove from the heat. Let the eggs sit in the covered pan for 12 to 15 minutes. Place in an ice bath to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt a third of the schmaltz, and cook the onions in it until they’re completely tender and on the brink of browning, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked onions to a plate. Add a little more schmaltz to the pan, increase the heat to high, and sauté the livers, salting them as you do, until they are warm throughout with just some pinkness remaining, 7 to 10 minutes. Peel the eggs. Run all the ingredients through a meat grinder fitted with a small die into a mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the vinegar and stir to combine. Stir in 1⁄2 cup of schmaltz, in addition to the gribenes, if using (you can also wait and sprinkle them on top as a garnish), and continue to stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated. (This can also be done using a food processor.) Taste it and add more schmaltz, salt, vinegar, and pepper as you wish. Chill completely.

Serve with toast or crackers along with some dill pickles or pickled red onions as a snack.