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Episode 306: Barbecue on a Budget

Smoked Chopped Chicken Livers and Ember-Roasted Vegetable Dip

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Smoked Chopped Chicken Livers and Ember-Roasted Vegetable Dip

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 6 as an appetizer
  • Method: Cavemanning and indirect grilling/smoking

Ingredients

For the chopped liver:

  • 1/2 pound chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 red onion, peeled, and sliced into 6 wedges
  • 7 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, for serving
  • 1/2 baguette, sliced on a sharp diagonal and grilled, for serving

For the ember-roasted vegetable dip:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and slivered
  • 2 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 to 2 small hot red peppers
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or more to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 baguette, sliced on a sharp diagonal and grilled, for serving

Recipe Steps

1: Make the ember-roasted vegetable dip: Set up your grill for cavemanning—pour a chimney of coals directly into the bottom of your charcoal grill and spread them out evenly with a grill hoe or other implement.

2: Make a series of small slits in the eggplant and stuff each slit with a sliver of garlic.

3: Arrange the eggplant, bell peppers, shallots, hot peppers, and the poblano directly on the embers, turning with tongs as needed until the outsides are blackened and charred. (When it’s cooked through, you’ll be able to easily pierce the eggplant with a skewer or a sharp knife.) Let the vegetables cool.

4: When cool enough to handle, peel the eggplant, bell peppers, shallots, hot peppers, and the poblano with a paring knife. There is no need to remove all the skin. Stem and seed the peppers. Coarsely chop the eggplant, bell peppers, shallots, hot peppers, and the poblano. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the sherry, olive oil, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the grilled bread slices. Cover and chill if making ahead.

5: In the meantime, make the chopped chicken liver dip: Using a grill hoe, set up your grill for indirect grilling/smoking by pushing the coals into two piles opposite each other with an aluminum drip pan separating them. Season the chicken livers with salt and pepper. Arrange the onion wedges, peeled hard-cooked eggs, and chicken livers in a second aluminum foil drip pan. Place the pan in the center of the grill. Add 2 hardwood chunks or 2 handfuls of soaked drained hardwood chips on the embers. Replace the grill lid, and smoke the chicken livers, eggs, and onion until the livers are slightly yielding (they will still be slightly pink in the center) and the eggs are bronzed with smoke.

6: Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Coarsely chop the onion wedges and add to the oil. Saute the onions until they are lightly browned.

7: Place the hard-cooked eggs, chicken livers, and onions in the bowl of a food processor and process until the ingredients are combined but still have some texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Top with the chives and serve with the grilled bread. Cover and chill if making ahead.

Recipe Tips

Our thanks to the sponsors of Project Fire Season 3:

Project Fire Sponsors 2021

Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2021 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein

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