mme. maman’s chopped liver {ffwd}

Mme Maman's Chopped Liver

I did not grow up eating liver. When they set up house together, my parents made a pact to ban their dreaded childhood meal of liver (and Brussels sprouts). However, that meal involved calf or beef liver. Occasionally, when visiting either of my grandmothers, chicken liver, in the form of chopped liver, made an appearance, though, as a child, I was never tempted to try it. (I do think both my parents mother indulged though, so much for consistency in their preferences.) NOTE: My father just called to register his objection to my earlier statement. He tells me he hasn’t eaten liver in any form for well over 50 years, and doesn’t want anyone to think he has. He hates liver. I stand corrected, Dad!

Surprisingly, it was Howard (he who doesn’t like so many things) who recruited me to join “Team Chopped Liver” back in our courtship days. Following in his own mother and grandmother’s footsteps, he always made chopped liver for an indulgent snack. Chopped liver is hardly an everyday food. It’s must be #1 on any list of artery-clogging treats. However, I was easily convinced.

When I mentioned that this week’s choice for French Fridays with Dorie was Mme. Maman’s Chopped Liver, Howard asked how it would be different from what we usually make. His version is a combination of chicken liver, fried onions, and hard boiled eggs. Actually, there isn’t much difference. On paper, there are just three small things.

The first is technique. Mme. Maman cooks the onions, and then the livers, in A LOT of oil. The excessive oil allows the onions to brown beautifully. The extra oil is drained off, so the final spread is not overly oily.

Browned Onions

The second difference is the addition of quatre épices, a classic French blend of four spices: white pepper, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. I mixed my own based on this recipe from Gourmet.

The final difference is texture. The liver is coarsely chopped by hand (Howard usually purees the liver in the food processor), so the end result is chunkier than the smooth spread we are used to.

I served the chopped liver (in the new soufflé dishes I bought for another recent recipe) with water crackers and Club crackers. I preferred the flaky, buttery Club crackers. Ritz crackers would also be a good choice, but I didn’t have any of those in my magic pantry.

The verdict at my house was three thumbs up. Or maybe I should say two thumbs (Howard’s and mine) and one dewclaw (Bella’s). The whole family was enthusiastic. I found no need to add any of the extra oil drained off after cooking. The perfect alternative was storing it in a jar and adding a spoonful to Bella’s twice daily bowls of kibble. She’s an extremely finicky eater, but she’s finished every meal this week. Howard even caught her licking the bowl.

I think my enthusiasm puts me in the minority this week. According to the P&Q discussion, many of my Dorista friends are seriously liver-challenged. They were getting creative about faux liver substitutions. To check out their final results, faux or vrai, follow their links here. I highly recommend the vrai version. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.


Posted on 13 December 2013, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I agree – this one was good.

  2. Yummy. Publix,here, makes great chopped liver. Tastes home made. Enjoy. Xxxxxx

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Bill and Howard were on the same page…surprise, surprise! My parents both loved fried beef liver, but this is much more my style :)

  4. Yes, I am incredibly liver challenged. I thought last year’s mousse would cure me since it had been some many years since I had it – it didn’t…

    Glad to hear that all the mouths in the house enjoyed it :-)

  5. I agree, it was delicious. But it needed garlic ;-)

  6. Betsy, your Chopped Liver looks wonderful with those lovely crackers. I am so happy that we are not the only ones who enjoyed this week´s recipe. It is indeed not an easy task to try and make chopped liver look attractive but you did! How nice!
    I would also like to thank you for the wonderful article about the heirloom apples – how thoughtful of you. It was a great read and I really appriated the thought! Thank you dear friend!
    Have a fabulous weekend! Is it snowing in your parts yet? It is raining here and raining and raining some more.

  7. I’m starting to see a trend. It seems that those of us Doristas who were never exposed to it as children seem to be the ones who like it. Well, except for Howard, so there goes my theory. Then again, maybe his mother and grandmother were just better cooks than the rest of ours.

  8. I’m just liver challenged in the preparation of it – I’ll happily eat pâté and the like!

  9. For those of us who loved this, will enjoy it with anything that can be paired with it!!

  10. Well gosh…now I do wish I had thought to share some of this delicious dish with Margarita. Wow. lol. I feel pretty selfish now. I will be making this again so next time I will be a better caretaker. I’m glad you liked this one!

  11. Really, you have never had liverwurst? It must be a New York thing. Try and liverwurst
    and boloney sandwich, fantastic. Your chopped liver looks great, and this is one recipe that will be repeated again for sure. Have a happy and snowy weekend..

  12. Love that you shared with Bella. The toughest part of preparing this dish (recall my dear hubby cleaned the little livers for me…..) was a tie between remembering to breathe through my mouth and keeping the animals away from me. They tend to like the whole FFWD scene and taking photos can often be a challenge – but they went nuts this week. And yes, I did share a bit after I got my photos……

  13. Kudos for making this. I totally skipped it.

  14. I think we ended up in the same place (Molly & Max are enjoying this recipe as well, I can only eat so much!). No wonder your parents didn’t have liver – with Brussels sprouts? ish! We did have liver and onions as a treat, and my Mom’s was good, so no phobias, but I get it!

  15. We were also on the same page as you and Howard! Delicious! I have never made chopped liver before and now I wonder, why not? Glad Bella enjoyed hers!

  16. You could find a spaetzle maker in your magic pantry and you couldn’t find Ritz crackers? Betsy, you are losing your touch. Anyone who loves cupcakes made from tomato soup would love chopped chicken livers so it was not surprising to me that this was a winner for you. Bella, of course. But, Howard? Who knew. I made mine into a paté. Just blitzed the heck out of it and found it pretty tasty. But it is artery-clogging as you casually mentioned so I could not go with the great big sandwich suggested by Dorie.

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