Recipe: Chicken Yerushalami
No Beth Din has ever ruled that the only thing you can do with a liver is chop it. Chopped liver is an Ashkenazi icon, beloved of balabustas and Philip Roth alike, but there is another way. When you give chicken livers a sprinkle of aromatic Mahane-Yehuda spices, it takes you straight into the heart of the Old City.
This recipe is based on the famous street food, Jerusalem mixed grill. Traditionally this includes offal such as chicken hearts and spleen as well as liver, but that version may not be for the faint-hearted. Either way, it's a suitably commemorative dish to make for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), which is on June 1 this year.
The spice mixture is a matter of personal preference. You can use any ready-made "baharat" mix, but it's not hard to make your own using a tablespoon each of ground cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon and ginger, and half a tablespoon of allspice and nutmeg. It keeps well in an airtight jar. If you use the mix in this recipe, also add a pinch of paprika.
● 400g chicken livers
● 100g onions
● 50ml olive oil
● 2 tbsp spice mix (see above)
● 2 tbsp chopped parsley or coriander (optional)
● Chop the onions into small pieces.
● Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for several hours up to a maximum of 24 hours. You can, if you wish, also freeze the livers at this stage.
● Heat a non-stick frying pan, add the mix and stir-fry for about five minutes or until the livers are cooked to your preference. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or coriander.
● Serve straight away stuffed into pitta bread with pickled cucumbers, peppers and tahini sauce, or whatever else you fancy.