Author Notes: Growing up, I was always happy to be in the kitchen with my Grandmother. This holiday staple was one of the first foods I helped with. I peeled hard boiled eggs as a toddler. As a youngster, I hand chopped (with a mezzaluna) the eggs. And as soon as I could handle a knife, I had to mince a pile of onions. My treat at the end was always the gribenes, a heart-stopping dish of cracklin’s from rendering chicken fat, served on a piece of holiday challah. Now that I’m all grown up and not keeping kosher, I’ve amended the recipe to substitute butter for the schmaltz and doused it all with a little booze. —MrsWheelbarrow
eggs, hard boiled & peeled
pound yellow skinned onions, minced fine
ounces unsalted butter
tablespoon grapeseed oil (substitute canola or safflower)
pound livers from pastured, free range chickens
tablespoons Cognac, dry sherry, white vermouth, or Calvados
- Chop the eggs very fine using a mezzaluna or the food processor. They should be fluffy. Put in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a large, heavy sauté pan, heat half the butter with the oil. Add the onions and sauté slowly until richly browned, but not burned. Salt and pepper generously while they cook.
- In the meantime, rinse and clean the livers well, removing connective sinew and anything yucky looking.
- When the onions have finished cooking, put them in the bowl with the eggs.
- Heat 1 oz butter in the onion pan and saute the livers until no pink remains. Do not brown or crisp. It’s alright if they break up a bit. Salt and pepper generously.
- Remove the livers from the pan and deglaze with the booze. Pour the deglazing liquid into the bowl with the eggs and onions.
- Chop the livers with a mezzaluna (or use the food processor) and then gently fold the eggs, onions and livers together.
- Test and correct for seasoning. The flavor really blooms after chilling, so make this well in advance.
- Pack in ramekins or other serving dishes. Keep the dishes small – 4 oz – and make sure to freeze whatever will not be used within two days.