As you may already know, chef Ori Menashe doesn’t run a deli, but the charcuterie whiz at Bestia is equipped with a skill-set that allows him to tackle a range of meat spreads that you might find there, including chopped chicken liver.
At his Italian kitchen in DTLA, the chef’s version is delightfully rustic and Italian. Menashe rough chops medium-rare chicken livers (with a knife, not a food processor, mind you) to achieve a slightly chunky—but still incredibly creamy—texture. The liver is flavored with balsamic vinegar to add sweetness and acidity, as well as Italian ingredients like Calabrian chiles, garlic, and capers.
“The most important thing is to have high-quality livers that are really fresh, never frozen,” says Menashe, who uses Jidori chicken livers at his restaurant. The chef says the chopped liver will stay good in the refrigerator for two days, and you can cut the recipe in half if this is too much liver for you. Needless to say, this liver would make any Jewish grandparent proud.
Chopped Chicken Liver à la Bestia
- 1 kilo fresh chicken livers
- grapeseed oil, for searing
- butter, for searing
- 1 tablespoon chopped capers
- 1.5 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1.5 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fermented Calabrian chilies
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary-marjoram mix
- ⅓ ounce balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- earthy whole wheat toast, for serving
- aged balsamic vinegar, for finishing
- Maldon salt, for finishing
1. Sear the livers.
Season the livers lightly with salt and pepper. Get your sautée pan very hot, add grapeseed oil, then place the chicken livers into the pan along with a few cubes of butter. “You don’t want to crowd the livers because you want them to sear, not steam,” says chef.
Sear the chicken livers hard on both sides until they are golden brown and medium-rare. (Feel free to press on the livers to make sure they’re still soft on the inside, or cut one open to check for doneness.)
You don’t want to move the livers around too much as they cook, because as chef says, “you want to seal them and get a nice sear.” Do this step repeatedly until all chicken liver is cooked. Place the cooked livers into a perforated pan and let the fat drain off. (Reserve the fat for later!)
2. Cook the flavoring ingredients.
In the same pan that you cooked the chicken liver in, add 1 tablespoon of butter, garlic, and shallots. Cook on medium heat. Next, add marjoram and rosemary, half of the parsley, capers, and Calabrian chiles.
After you infuse the oil, you’ll see it changes to a beautiful reddish color.
3. Add balsamic, then reduce to a syrup.
Once all ingredients are cooked down, add balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook low and slow. Reduce the liquid by half, or until it is a syrupy consistency. Set balsamic mixture aside and let it cool.
4. Chop the livers.
“I like to do this while it’s still hot because you’re actually cutting the livers before they cook the whole way through,” says chef. Chop all the livers roughly with a knife.
5. Add pan drippings, balsamic liquid, olive oil, and parsley.
Place chopped chicken livers into a large bowl. Once the balsamic mixture is cooled, pour it over the liver, along with the leftover chicken liver fat from the pan and the other half of the fresh parsley. Mix together.Add enough olive oil so it isn’t dry and mix again.Check the flavor with a spoon, then add more salt and oil if it is necessary.If you happen to have 30-year aged balsamic lying around like Menashe does, drizzle some in. How much aged balsamic you want to add depends on how sweet and savory you want your finished product to be. Menashe doesn’t like it to be too sweet, so he doesn’t add much.
6. Mix together and plate.
7. Drizzle a touch more olive oil and balsamic over the top.
8. Finish with Maldon salt and parsley. Voila!