Chopped liver

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Chopped liver
Chopped liver with egg
CourseHors d'oeuvre
Associated national cuisineAshkenazi Jewish
Main ingredientsLiver

Chopped liver is a liver pâté popular in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. It is a common menu item in kosher delicatessens in Britain, Canada, South Africa, and the U.S.

Preparation and serving[edit]

The dish is often made by sautéing or broiling liver and onions, adding hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper, and grinding that mixture. The liver used is generally calf, beef, or chicken. The quintessential fat used is schmaltz, but different methods and materials exist, and the exact process and ingredients may vary from chef to chef. Shortening or oil is often substituted for the schmaltz.

Chopped liver is often served on matzah, or with rye bread as sandwiches.

Variations and alternatives[edit]

Chopped liver is high in protein but also high in fat and cholesterol. Thus, low fat versions and mock and vegetarian alternatives exist that are frequently made of a combination of peas, string beans, eggplant, or mushrooms.[1] Parve alternatives include the Israeli eggplant salad and vorschmack (chopped herring).

Chopped liver as an expression[edit]

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 explanation of the 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".[2]

The etymology of the idiom is difficult to trace, with much of spoken references in older television, comedy and cinema unavailable in text form. One early occurrence appears in the book, The Curtain Never Falls[3] by comedian Joey Adams, published in 1949.

Similar dishes[edit]


  1. ^ Vegetarian Chopped Liver (Pareve)
  2. ^ Ask the Rabbi: What Am I, Chopped Liver? at Ohr Somayach
  3. ^ Joey Adams (1949). The Curtain Never Falls. F. Fell. p. 175.