My First Hanukkah: Chopped Chicken Liver & Potato Latkes!

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This past weekend, I went to visit my Dad and Mark in Maryland. We decided to make chopped chicken liver and latkes. Mark is Jewish and I am more than happy to embrace these food traditions! I had never had chopped chicken liver and I love potato latkes!

I found two great recipes from Andrew Zimmern (who my dad loves). He even replied to my tweet about using his recipes — guys, I’m famous now! These recipes did not disappoint! They were amazing and while we planned a dinner (with these just being appetizers), that idea was scrapped (for other reasons…) but these “appetizers” were filling enough for a full meal.

 

The key component apparently in these recipes is Schmaltz or rendered chicken fat. I had never had or even heard of Schmaltz before. It’s basically butter… butter that tastes like chicken.

Did you know:

In South Africa, there is vegetarian Schmaltz with the slogan “Even the chicken can’t tell the difference.”

Also – “the expression “falling into the schmaltz pot” refers to the concept of having something good happen to you, often by sheer luck (e.g., being born into a good family).”

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Chopped Chicken Liver

2 large eggs

½ cup rendered chicken fat (schmaltz)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 pounds chicken livers, trimmed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Matzo, for serving

In a small saucepan, cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a boil; cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and immediately fill the pan with cold water. Let the eggs stand until chilled. Drain, peel and coarsely chop.

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In a very large skillet, melt chicken fat. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

 

 

Season the livers with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until barely pink inside, about 8 minutes.

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Scrape the mixture into the bowl of a food processor and let cool slightly. Add the chopped eggs and pulse until the livers are finely chopped but not completely smooth. Add the parsley and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

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Transfer the chicken liver to a bowl. Press plastic wrap onto the surface and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes. Serve with the matzo (or ritz crackers… the very unJewish but delicious way).

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Potato Latkes

1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

Sea salt

2 lb baking potatoes

1 large onion, finely diced

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup matzo meal

½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Peanut oil

Rendered chicken fat

In a medium saucepan, cover the Yukon Gold potatoes with cool water, season generously with salt and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and pulse in food processor.

 

 

Working quickly, peel and grate the baking potatoes on the large holes of a box grater into a medium bowl. Press with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Add half of the grated potatoes to the cooked potatoes.

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Transfer the remaining grated potatoes to a bowl and add the onion. Stir in the eggs, matzo meal, white pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add pulsed potatoes until well combined.

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In a large, heavy skillet, heat ¼ inch of oil until shimmering. Working in 3 batches, spoon 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into the oil for each latke; press slightly to flatten. Fry over moderate heat, turning once, until the latkes are golden and crisp on both sides, about 7 minutes. Drain the latkes on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt.

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Serve with applesauce and crème fraîche.

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These latkes were INCREDIBLE. I have no words to describe them!

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