Because it’s fun to learn new things, and because it makes for more interesting conversations back at the office on Monday, we’re giving you Sunday School, a column where you can learn to make new things.

If you ask customers at Wise Sons Deli’s pop-up brunches what their favorite menu item is, they will most likely tell you it’s the chopped liver. In fact, one customer admitted to dreaming about their chopped liver.

Yes, the unpopular dish that many of us regarded as punishment when we were kids is now sought after, and if you haven’t tried Wise Sons’ version yet, you should.

On a recent weekday, I got to see what goes on in the Wise Sons kitchen, and learned from the man behind the chopped liver how to make it.

Blake Joffe is the co-founder Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Oakland, a pop-up bakery that bakes and sells Montreal-style bagels at Saul’s delicatessen in Berkeley on Saturday. A friend of Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, founders of Wise Sons, he makes their bagels, bialys and the popular chopped liver.

“It’s easy to overcook chicken liver,” Wise Sons’ co-founder Leo Beckerman said when asked the secret to great chopped liver. “We use schmaltz [chicken fat], which we render ourselves, which contributes to the rich and creamy texture.”

Ready? Let’s get chopping.

First, you’ll need one pound of finely chopped yellow onions, one pound of chicken liver, and some schmaltz. Cut the membranes out and trim the fat off the liver.

You will also need a bay leaf, parsley, some thyme, kosher salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, a little brandy and some chicken stock.

Pour ¼ cup of rendered chicken fat into a hot pan and saute the liver.

Add the garlic and onions and sauté until translucent, then add 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Throw in bay leaf.

Fry in a little bit of chopped thyme and parsley.

Take pan off heat. Pour in a little brandy and bring pan back to stove to flambé.

Chop the chicken liver.

In a bowl, mix the sauteed onions with 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Season it with salt and pepper. Add a little more chopped parsley.

Mix until the texture is smooth. Leave in the fridge for approximately one hour, then eat with toast.

When he was done, Joffe grabbed one of his sesame seed bagels and slapped on a thick layer of the creamy-textured chopped liver.

“Wise Sons chopped liver with a Beauty bagel, now that’s a match made in heaven,” he said.

About Wise Sons Deli
Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman are both natives of southern California and met at UC Berkeley as undergrads. They started serving their deli fare at Jackie’s Vinoteca & Cafe during an Off the Grid event in January 2011. Since then they’ve done pop-up brunches at Heart Wine Bar and are now at Beast and the Hare.

Hélène Goupil

Hélène Goupil is an editor at Mission Local and a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. She's the co-author of "San Francisco: The Unknown City." In 2008, she helped start Mission...

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