Chopped liver is a spread popular in Jewish cuisine.
It is often made by sautéeing liver and onions in schmaltz (i.e., rendered animal fat); adding hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper to the sautéed liver and onions, and grinding that mixture. However other methods and materials exist and so the exact process and ingredients may vary from chef to chef.
Chopped liver is a common menu item in Kosher delicatessens in the U.S. and Canada. Chopped liver is often served with rye bread as sandwiches.
The liver used is generally calves' liver or chicken liver. Shortening or oil is often substituted for the schmaltz.
Chopped Liver Recipes
Because of the liver, chopped liver is high in protein but also high in fat and cholesterol. Thus, low fat, mock, and vegetarian versions of chopped liver exist that are frequently made of a combination or base of peas, string beans, eggplant, or mushrooms.
Chopped liver in popular culture
Because of its unusual taste and gray appearance, it is an acquired taste and not a favorite or comfort food with everyone at the dinner table. This has given rise to the popular Jewish-American expression "What am I, chopped liver?", signifying frustration or anger at being ignored on a social level.
An alternate explanation for the etymology of the "What am I, chopped liver?" expression is that chopped liver was traditionally served as a side dish rather than a main course. The phrase, therefore may have originally meant to express a feeling of being overlooked, as a "side dish."