It is often made by sautéeing or broiling liver and onions in lard or the kosher version thererof, schmaltz; adding hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper, and grinding that mixture. However, other methods and materials exist, and the exact process and ingredients may vary from chef to chef.
Chopped liver is high in protein but also high in fat and cholesterol. Thus, low fat, mock, and vegetarian versions of chopped liver exist that are frequently made of a combination or base of peas, string beans, eggplant, or mushrooms.
Chopped liver as an expression
Since eating chopped liver may not be appreciated by everyone, the Jewish English expression "What am I, chopped liver?", signifies frustration or anger at being ignored on a social level.
An alternative explanation for the etymology of the "What am I, chopped liver?" expression is that chopped liver was traditionally served as a side dish rather than a main course. The phrase, therefore may have originally meant to express a feeling of being overlooked, as a "side dish."
A similar reference aired in 1963 on The Dick Van Dyke Show on an episode titled "Jilting the Jilter" at the Internet Movie Database. Sally Rogers, played by Rose Marie, is asked by a "second-rate comedian" Fred White, played by Guy Marks, "What do you think you are, Your Majesty, chopped chicken liver?"
- Vegetarian Chopped Liver (Pareve) http://kosherfood.about.com/od/vegetarianmaindishes/r/vegie_chopliver.htm
- Ask the Rabbi: What Am I, Chopped Liver? at Ohr Somayach
- Media related to Chopped liver at Wikimedia Commons