Abe Fisher’s Chicken Liver Mousse with Pastrami-Onion Jam

Chicken Liver Mousse with Pastrami-Onion Jam and Rye Toast. Photo by Mike Persico. 


Philadephia has a rich Jewish history -- and it's been made richer by chef Michael Solomonov's family of Jewish/Israeli-oriented restaurants. Abe Fisher is where executive chef Yehuda Sichel turns traditional ideas of American Jewish cooking on their heads, and where he's created what can only be described as "Nouvelle Ashkenazy." This version of the classic chopped chicken liver is as creamy as can be -- as light as a French pate, enhanced by the salty sweetness of the pastrami-onion jam. Shmear it on toast and you're done.

By Yehuda Sichel

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer.
For the Chicken Liver Mousse:  

6 oz chicken stock
1 lb chicken livers, seared
5  tbsp rendered chicken fat (also known as schmaltz) *

½ cup onions that have been caramelized
¼ cup gribenes (Yiddish for crisped chicken skins) *
2 hard boiled eggs

Combine 4 oz of chicken stock and the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until completely smooth. If the mixture seems too thick, add additional chicken stock as necessary. Pass the mousse through a fine sieve pressing down with a spatula. Let the mousse cool in the refrigerator overnight.

For the Pastrami Onion Jam:

¼ lb pastrami, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, diced
2 tbsp honey
1 oz sherry vinegar 

Place diced pastrami in the food processor and pulse until coarse. Preheat a small sauté pan on low heat. Place the ground pastrami and onion in the pan and cook on low heat stirring frequently until onions are completely translucent. Add the vinegar and honey, and cook until deeply caramelized and the liquid has evaporated.
Serve the mousse and pastrami onion jam with thick-cut, toasted rye bread that has been spread with schmaltz.
* NOTE: Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat. It is sometimes available in the supermarket, but you can make your own by rendering chicken skins over low heat with a splash of water (and often chopped onions). Once the skins have been fully rendered, you are left with golden schmaltz and crispy, crackling chicken skins known as gribenes. You can just as easily substitute butter in place of schmaltz, and the gribenes are optional.

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