Make Ahead

Liver dumpling meatballs in a heavenly broth

August 11, 2010
7 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

I have to confess when I was a girl the only recipes that really interested me were desserts! So I did pay very close attention to what my Hungarian grandmother was doing with all of those. I learned how to make her apricot cookies and the ones with the ground walnut and raisin filling in the yeast pastry, glazed with egg yoke.....but when it came time for dumplings, I did not watch closely enough. And Gram had the most amazing repertoire of dumplings to offer, not to mention her homemade perfect noodles! It may take me the rest of my life to recreate some of these, but I am going to try. So to start here is my effort with her liver dumplings. I will just describe how she taught me to make soup as well here. Basically, what you do is save every scrap of your basic vegetables and collect all the bones from your cooking to simmer to a broth. Save every peel from a potato, every top from a carrot, every skin from an onion, and every leaf from celery, and so on. Gram also taught me to make friends with the butcher: Ask for bones for soup to add to your own collection of bones! A ham bone will add music to your chicken and beef broth, which typically become one blended broth. Nothing was ever specified or measured, but each and every time Gram's soup was phenomenal! So just chuck all your veggie wastes in a pot with all your bones and lots of filtered water with sprigs of several fresh herbs and simmer away. Then after 6-10 hours, scrunch up the veggies, "wring" them into the broth, and discard. Throw away the bones and strain the broth so you have a clear, perfect broth.You really can't go too far wrong: Don't use broccoli though without specific intention. The main measure of your effectiveness: that the soup will turn to a gel in the fridge overnight. Then you know you have done well. This is a recipe about liver dumplings for a soup, well within the meatball family. There is no other way I can even stand to eat liver! I think all meatball recipes are about family somehow or other. This is a modest attempt to include the biggest inspiration in my cooking life: my Hungarian grandmother. Up until her death in her late 90s Gram continued to maintain a vegetable and herb garden. She is my real inspiration for cooking. She even got me to stand eating liver every once in a while this way. —Sagegreen

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound chicken livers from organic free range chickens, ground
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup stale peasant bread crumbs ( a little extra as well, in case needed)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ounce shallots, finely minced
  • 1 ounce carrots, finely minced
  • 1 ounce celeriac, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, (or cilantro) chopped, for garnish
  • 1 quart homemade soup broth
  • sweet paprika for garnish
  1. Add your stale bread crumbs to the beaten eggs.
  2. Make sure your chicken livers have no skins or tissue before grinding. They must be pure. Add the to ground livers to the bowl.
  3. Melt butter in a skillet and add the minced shallot, celeriac, and carrot. Cook until they are softened for about 1 minute, but do not brown. Next stir in the flour, salt, and pepper to the pan. Add the wine and reduce. Then add this whole mixture plus 2 tbl. parsley to the mix in the bowl.
  4. Cover and chill the combined mixture until cold (about 4 hours).
  5. After the mixture is cold, bring your homemade broth to a simmer. Scoop and drop about 20 small balls (@3/4" ) from the cold mix into the simmering broth.
  6. The mixture should hold together; if not add a little more bread crumbs. Poach for about 15 minutes, or until they dumplings rise to the top.
  7. Serve with the broth and garnish with 2 tbl. fresh chopped parsley (or cilantro) and sweet paprika.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lizthechef
  • Sagegreen
  • Andrea Erdossy Evanick
    Andrea Erdossy Evanick
  • jillshepherd

6 Reviews

jillshepherd August 6, 2021
Long time chicken liver lover, make it a few different ways. Currently on chemo and was a bit anemic so went straight to chicken livers. Got my anemia under control and mentioned I was eating liver to one of the oncology nurses, She made a face and mentioned her grandma used to make chicken liver dumplings. "RECORD SCRATCH" What? I HAD to try those. Most liver dumplings I found were beef, which is fine, but I wanted chicken liver, So of course I made this last night. It was heavenly! It was like light delicate meatballs that tasted a lot like good chopped liver. SO GOOD. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing the recipe! I wish either of my grandmothers had been good cooks. I go around collecting other people's grandmas recipes! LOL
Lizthechef August 11, 2010
I had a Hungarian Grandmother too! This is SO Hungarian. Lots to talk about - will send you a message :)
Sagegreen August 11, 2010
Thanks! SO good to know. Looking forward to chatting further.
Andrea E. May 29, 2019
My dad used to make this but he used calves liver. It was delicious. I just had this in Hungary and it was so good!
Sagegreen May 29, 2019
Thanks. I haven't made these in years! I envy your visit to Hungary.
Andrea E. May 29, 2019
It was so beautiful. We did the Danube river cruise from Passau, Germany to Budapest. We spent a few extra days there. Loved it!