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Friday, September 26, 2008

The Jewish Girl in Me: Recipe

My whole life I've enjoyed the smell of my mother making chopped liver for each and every Jewish Holiday. I promise that it wasn't until I was nearly 21 that I even took a taste. Just the thought of "liver" made me want to practically wretch. But now I know that this is a food that my ancient ancestors ate (maybe not so ancient...does the turn of the last century count?) and I've come to love this as a "perfect" food. If you've never had this dish, I urge you to try it. It is delicious and very similar to a foie gras terrine in texture - like a thick dip, almost.

Liver is rich in nutrients and vitamins. Per ounce it has 47 calories and 2 grams of fat (with only 1 gram saturated), no carbs and 7 grams of protein. Eating 1 ounce of liver will give you 75% of your daily intake of Vitamin A and 18% of your daily intake of Iron. In fact, I can recall a time in my early twenties when the doctor had suspected I was suffering from anemia and I was due for a series of blood tests shortly after Rosh Hashanah. I gobbled down Challah and Chopped Liver all weekend and when the results came back from the doctor I was shocked to find that my iron count was way, way up. Couple this with my mother's matzoh ball soup and I would be forever healthy.

This recipe has no recipe, try as I might to pin it down. It seems to change slightly each time we make it. Like most cooks, I don't measure the oil (really) or the spirit. But regardless, I've managed to keep this as constant as possible over the past two years so now I can offer it to you with relative certainty that it will come out as it does each and every time for me and my family.

This is creamy and rich. It's great cold or at room temperature. It's perfect for a crusty piece of bread or a soft Challah. It's truly a magic food and this recipe is perhaps the best I've ever come across.

A Jewish Mom's Chopped Liver
1 1/4 lb. container chicken livers
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup Calvados (Apple Brandy)
1 hard boiled egg, peeled

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onions for about 6-8 minutes until soft. Add the entire container of livers into the pan and saute about 10 more minutes, stirring often and until the liver turns very brown rather than red. As the liquid bubbles up continue to stir the mixture.

Add the calvados and stir another 2-3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. Then place the mixture into a food processor with the hard boiled egg and turn on the machine. Puree until well mixed and smooth.

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