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My Dad's Chopped Chicken Liver Spread

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    My Dad's Chopped Chicken Liver Spread

    March 1, 2020 was my Dad’s 100th birthday. He died July 13, 2005. I turned out very much like him. He was a pugnacious serial entrepreneur with mixed results. He served in the Pacific in WWII with the 346th Bomb Group, flew under Jimmy Doolittle late in the war, and went to college on the GI Bill. Here’s his memoir of the war and the B-29s he flew in http://346bg.com/memories/goldwyn_memoirs.html

    Fresh out of Cornell's Ag school in Morrisville, NY, where he was a food technology major, he and his best friend opened a dog food factory. Then he went to work for Clarence Birdseye, the man who pioneered frozen foods. Then he opened a deli. Then a restaurant. Then he became an inspector for the USDA and was stationed in Maine inspecting blueberry factories. After blueberry season they sent him to St. Petersburg, FL, inspecting shrimp processors but red tide shut down the plant. So they sent him to Sarasota to inspect an orange juice processor and he caught them adding water and sugar and shut them down. So he became a stockbroker. Like him, I have started several businesses, some successful, some, not. The current one, thankfully is a winner.

    Dad was also a grill man and that's where I got the bug. His specialty was flank steak. I watched him out back and loved the product. When nobody was looking he might have let me have a sip of his beer. That might have cemented my love of grilling right then.

    Occasionally he'd fiddle around in Mom's kitchen, and chopped chicken liver spread was one of his specialties. It was great for parties or just snacking on pumpernickel thins, rye thins, matzoh, baguette slices, or any old cracker. Or make a sandwich just like you would with braunschweiger. His original recipe in his handwriting is below.

    I’m scrappy like Dad, I’ve got his pot belly, I taught at Cornell for a while, and my career took me into food, too. Below are two methods, outdoors, and indoors. Dad made his indoors, but I make mine on the grill, of course.

    I miss you and your cooking, Dad.

    Makes. About 1 ¼ pounds of spread. That’s enough for a party. You might want to cut it in half for normal use.

    Takes. About an hour to prep and cook, and another hour or 2 to chill.

    Special tools. Grill topper, food processor or if you don’t have one, a blender.



    Ingredients

    1 pound chicken livers

    1 large onion

    3 tablespoons cooking oil

    4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter

    1 tablespoon dried sage, crumbled

    2 ounces cream sherry or sweet marsala

    1 apple, any variety

    1 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt

    1 pinch ground black pepper

    pumpernickel thins, rye thins, matzoh, baguette slices, or any old cracker

    About the chicken livers. You can buy chicken livers in 1 pound plastic tubs in many grocery stores. We keep a zipper bag of livers in the freezer and add to it whenever we buy a whole chicken.

    Outdoor Method

    1) Prep. Wash the livers, pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut off the two ends of the onions, cut them in half along the equator, peel them, and break the halves into onion rings. Put them in a bowl with the oil and toss them around til coated. Peel, quarter, core, and coarsely chop the apple.

    2) Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook for about a minute. Add the sherry and turn the heat to high. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the apple, salt, and pepper.

    3) Fire up. Get a grill to medium hot and warm a grill topper. If you wish, you can toss a little wood on the fire. Grill the livers until they turn dark on the outside. This will take only about 10 minutes. They may remain pink on the inside, but they will be cooked. Then grill the onions until they are translucent, about 10 minutes.

    4) Dump the livers, onions, and butter blend into a food processor, and beat it up on a medium speed until it is a uniform paste. If you use a blender you will have to work in batches, but it should work. Taste and adjust salt and sherry as needed. Spoon into a bowl, cover, and chill.

    5) Serve on pumpernickel thins, crackers, grill toasted baguette slices, bagel chips, pita. Go nuts and top with bacon onion jam from my last book.

    6) To make this indoors. Chop the onions. Melt the butter in a 12” frying pan and add the salt, pepper, sage, onions, and apple. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the sherry and cook off the alcohol for about 5 minutes on high. Pour into the blender. Sauté the livers in the oil on medium high until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Pour into the blender. Take the whole thing for a spin until smooth. Pour into a bowl or container, cover, and chill through.

    Indoor Method

    1) Prep. Wash the livers, pat them dry with a paper towel, and chop into ½” chunks. Peel and coarsely chop the onions. Peel, quarter, core, and coarsely chop the apple.

    2) Melt half the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, apple, sage, salt and pepper and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are translucent. Scrape it into a food processor.

    3) Fire up. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan and add the livers. Cook until they are tan throughout, about 5 minutes, and add them to the food processor. Add the sherry to the pan and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes to boil off most of the alcohol. Add this to the food processor.

    4) Pulse the the food processor until you have a uniform paste. If you use a blender you will have to work in batches, but it should work. Taste and adjust salt and sherry as needed. Pour into a bowl, scrape the interior of the processor with a silicon spatula, cover, and chill.

    5) Serve on pumpernickel thins, crackers, grill toasted baguette slices, bagel chips, pita. Go nuts and top with bacon onion jam from my last book.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	dads-liver.jpg Views:	0 Size:	20.6 KB ID:	902696
    Last edited by Meathead; August 28, 2020, 12:10 PM.

    #2
    Thank you for sharing and for the tribute.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for sharing this little piece of yours, and his, interesting life.

      Comment


        #4
        Wow he lived a full life.Your a chip off the old block. . Chicken livers .....Huskee Get some!!! They put hair on your chest..

        Comment


          #5
          Beautiful tribute and wonderful share. Will be making this for sure for my Dad and my son who love chicken livers.

          Comment


            #6
            Have you ever tried to get some smoke in them? I know you said you can put some wood on the grill, but in ten minutes it doesn't seem like there would be much smoke. I have a pack of frozen livers in the freezer right now.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks Meathead . You bring back memories of my late Brother who was a fan of chicken livers too.

              Comment


                #8
                I finally gave this a try. My initial reaction was that it was a little too sweet. However, I let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days to let the flavors meld. Then I toasted up some pumpernickel rye, slathered on some butter, and spread some pate on top. Boy was it good. I will say this recipe makes far more than I want, but SWMBO has some silicone molds that I used to freeze a bunch of it. Once frozen I popped them out of the molds, wrapped them, and put them in a zip bag. I will save the offal from my poultry for this from now on.

                Comment


                • Meathead
                  Meathead commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Cool!

                #9
                Jus run across this today...
                Thanks, Meathead, fer both th receipt, an th enlighnin look into yer Father's experiences in WWII...
                My Da also served in th PTO, in th 119th, later th 130th Signal Radio Intelligence Co., interceptin Japanese radio traffic, an decodin it, also triangulatin (through RDF) where transmissions were from.

                Comment


                  #10
                  Love chicken livers so I will definitely try this.

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Your dad sounds as if he was really someone special. I lost my dad in 2002 and that is always difficult to deal with bu the memories are always there. The recipe you posted sounds interesting, but let me make a suggestion, if I may, and that is rather than using butter, try using schmaltz (rendered chicken fat). It really adds a lot to the flavor.

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