I will try to post a better picture later, but I don’t want to delay posting about this delicious and healthy vegetarian chopped liver.
I have served this appetizer many times, and invariably someone assumes it is real or asks (after tasting it!) “Is this real chopped liver?!”
The taste and texture is that close to the real thing.
Here are the secret to really authentic tasting vegetarian chopped liver:
(1) use lots and lots of onions and cook them slowly, over low heat, for really long time to fully caramelize them;
(2) grind the walnuts first, before adding any other ingredients, and thoroughly pulverize them to a smooth nut paste (tiny little bits of grit are okay, but not lots of noticeable bits of nuts):
(3) pulverize most of the onions with the rest of the ingredients, but set aside some to mix in at the end so that you have noticeable little bits of onion mixed into the “liver.”
I don’t precisely follow the following recipe, the amounts are flexible. It will be excellent as long as you follow the above tips.
Grandma’s Vegetarian Chopped Liver
1 cup chopped onion (use two or three onions, or even more)
oil for sauteeing onions (don’t be stingy, enough to coat bottom of large pan)
salt, pepper (freshly ground black and also some ground white pepper)
1 cup walnuts (or more, I don’t measure)
1 cup cooked lentils (I cook 3/4 cup of lentils in water until tender, drain, and then use about 2/3 to 3/4 of the resulting cooked lentils)
1 can of peas, drained (this time I used a well drained small 8 ounce can of string beans)
4 hardboiled eggs (I used three and it was fine, too; you can use three and then chop the fourth by hand and fold it in for more verisimilitude)
Slowly saute the onions in oil until deeply caramelized. Season with salt and pepper as they cook.
Finely grind the nuts in the food processor. Add the lentils and most of the onion and pulse in the food processor until you have a smooth paste. Add most of the eggs and pulse some more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Finely chop by hand the last egg and fold in the finely chopped egg and remaining onions. You can just pulse everything together if you prefer a smooth texture.
Note: you can also make veggie liver with cooked peas and string beans, without the lentils, but the lentils give a nice earthy flavor. You can also use well cooked fresh peas or string beans (10 ounces of fresh is equal to about 14.5 ounces of canned).
Last week, I made another version of vegetarian chopped liver that is also quite good. This recipe also gets raves as the best ever.
Elisa’s Vegetarian Chopped Liver
6 hard boiled eggs (can leave out most of the yolks, if desired)
1 cup walnuts
2 Vidalia onions
1 can string beans (when drained, you will have about 10 ounces; you can use that amount of well boiled fresh green beans)
1/2 can peas (when drained, about 5 ounces)
Saute the onions a very long time until caramelized (low heat). Process the walnuts in the food processor until very finely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and process. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
One more vegetarian chopped liver! A few years ago, for Thanksgiving, I made a vegetarian pate from Martha Stewart magazine: Hazelnut Cremini Lentil Pate. It is very much like Grandma’s Vegetarian chopped liver, but more glamorous, with shallots, cremini mushrooms, fresh herbs, and some sherry. You serve it more elegantly, too, as a loaf topped with herbs and sauteed mushroom. It was a huge hit.