Chopped Herring {Family Recipe}

There was a time when I was dating My Husband that I didn't know a lot about some of his favorite foods... he would come back to Kansas City after a visit to see his family in New Jersey with a suitcase that had cold packs to keep his favorite creamed spinach and sometimes there would be a jar of chopped herring.  Of course, this was back when you could still pack just about anything you wanted to take home from a trip in your suitcase... I don't think I'd pack a jar of chopped herring in one these days! 

He'd share his creamed spinach with me when we'd have dinner together, and I found that I really loved it... it wasn't something available in our grocery stores so I'd never even heard of it back then. 

When he brought back the chopped herring, he simply told me that I'd probably not like it... this was his way of keeping it all to himself!  While this was not something I had eaten before, I didn't argue much because I didn't really know anything about it.  Then... he finally allowed me to try a little on a piece of matzah during Passover... let's just say, he was very wrong about whether I'd like it or not!

Even though I have been married to him for getting close to 16 years, I never made it... My Mom-in-Law has always been kind enough to make some for us every Passover and for our Break Fast after Yom Kippur... this year, we weren't able to make it to their house for the Break Fast, so I needed to finally make it myself.

The recipe I will share at the end of this post is pretty much as easy as it gets.  The hard part is getting it chopped sufficiently so that it is the right texture... don't try to take a short-cut and use a food processor... it will be much too liquidy.  It's worth the effort to chop it up using a mezzaluna (a rounded knife with a handle on top that allows you to rock back-and-forth over the ingredients).  I had a hard time getting mine as chopped as I would have liked it since I was using a bowl that was not quite wide enough... it needs to have sloped sides so that you can easily move the mezzaluna around. 

The verdict was that it tasted exactly as it always has and everyone enjoyed it as an traditional part of our Yom Kippur Break Fast meal.

Chopped Herring
Source:  MomK (my mom-in-law) ~ Family Recipe

  • 1 large jar of chopped herring in wine sauce (we use Acme brand)
  • 1 sour apple (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored and diced
  • 3 eggs, hard-boiled (use only the whites, use the yolks for another recipe)
  • 1 sheet of matzah
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup canola oil - should be just enough to moisten the entire chopped mixture

  1. Put the herring into a colander and rinse under running water.
  2. Soften the matzah in cold water. 
  3. Next, put all ingredients into a bowl (except for oil) - may need to be done in batches if you have a small bowl.  Chop until it is a fine texture - this will take awhile!
  4. Once everything is chopped, add the oil and place into an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.


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