Growing up in the States, to be defined as Jewish, you had to fulfill certain criteria. As in all places and religions, there were different levels of observing and in our community it goes as follows.
There are the Orthodox, who generally stick to their own, there are the conservatives who send their kids to Jewish school, go to synagogue on the High Holidays and sometimes on Fridays and there are the reform who go to synagogue only the high holidays.
Then there are those who call themselves Jewish, and practice their Judaism only through food- having dinner on the holidays and visiting the Jewish deli.
I grew up somewhere in between the last three categories. I went to Jewish school, but only to synagogue on high holidays (if that), and ate a lot at the Jewish deli.
Ahead of Yom Kippur, I decided to share with our readers some very “Jewish” food.
Chopped liver is one of those foods which took me some time to like. I may have tasted it a few times before I moved to Israel and was never a huge fan, and then I came here and tasted my mother-in-law’s chopped liver.
There is chopped liver and there is Gingit’s (yes that is her name) chopped liver. I called her to tell her I needed the recipe to post on my blog, and she said that she doesn’t have a recipe – she just knows how to make it.
So I bought the ingredients and let her create her magic, while I documented how much goodness actually went into this delicacy so that I could share with our readers.
Gingit’s chopped liver
Ingredients for 6-8 servings:
¼ cup canola oil
2 large onions, coarsely sliced
500 grams/1 pound chicken livers, trimmed and cleaned
5 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 slice, challah bread, crust removed
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Gingit’s chopped liver, with horseradish (Photo: Danya Weiner)
1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Saute for 10-12 minutes, until the onions are golden and somewhat charred.
2. Remove ¾ of the onions from the skillet and place aside. Add the chicken livers to the skillet with the remaining onions, and sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the livers are completely cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
3. Transfer a large spoonful of the onions to a meat grinder and then a spoonful of the livers, and then an egg. Continue in this order until all ingredients have passed through the meat grinder.
4. Place the slice of challah through the meat grinder and then season the mixture with salt and pepper.
5. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. May be served cold or at room temperature.
This isn’t so much of a recipe, but it’s one of those things that I love to eat, but never thought of preparing myself. On a recent trip to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market, I came across a fish stand selling salted herring.
I decided to pickle them myself and serve at the holiday table. You can buy the herring whole and filet them yourself, or buy the fish already fileted.
Ingredients for 6-8 servings:
5 salted herring filets, sliced into 1-inch/2½ cm. slices
5 green onions, coarsely chopped, green and white parts
1. Arrange herring and green onions in alternate layers into a glass jar.
2. Cover with oil and tightly close lid. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
3. Herring may be stored in the refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to one week.