Schmaltz, Gribenes and Chopped Liver

Its hard to take a pretty picture of chopped liver, but this nutritional power food is one of my favorites.

Schmaltz is a Yiddish term for rendered chicken fat.  Gribenes are the cracklings, a byproduct of schmaltz.  Both are used in making this traditional chopped liver spread..


Remove the skin and trim the fat from a few joints of chicken and place into a heavy skillet over low heat.  Cover and cook 15 minutes, then remove cover and continue to cook until all the fat has melted and the skin is opaque, about 15 minutes more.  Pour off the rendered fat (this is the schmaltz) into a clean container and set aside.  Transfer cooked skin to cutting board and allow to cool enough to handle.

Chop onions and mince reserved chicken skin.  Cook in the same pan over medium-low heat, stirring often until well  browned, about 15 minutes (these are the gribenes);  add fresh thyme if desired.  Using a slotted spoon, remove to a cutting board and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, hard boil and cool and peel a couple of pastured eggs.

Add reserved schmaltz to the pan, increase the heat to medium and add the rinsed and cleaned chicken livers.  Fry until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Remove to the cutting board until cool enough to handle.

It is important to use only fresh, pastured chicken livers; what you find in the supermarket is generally full of chemicals and antibiotics.

Chicken livers are a good source of Thiamin, Zinc, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Phosphorus and Selenium.

Mound together the eggs, livers and gribenes and chop through as if you were chopping parsley.

To serve, pile chopped liver on top of toasted rye or sourdough, season with lots of kosher salt and black pepper and dress with chopped eggs and parsley accompanied by a selection of tidbits such as gherkins, olives and yellow tomatoes.