- 3 medium onions (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
- 14 green onions, coarsely chopped, divided
- 5 8-ounce russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes, divided
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
- 1 large zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
- 1/2 cup unsalted matzo meal
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted pareve margarine, vegetable oil, or melted chicken fat, divided
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Combine 3 eggs, half of onions, and half of green onions in processor. Blend until mixture is almost smooth and fluffy. Add half of potatoes, half of carrots, and half of zucchini. Blend until vegetables are finely chopped (bits of carrots and zucchini will remain). Transfer mixture to large bowl. Repeat with remaining 2 eggs, onions, and green onions, then potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. Add to mixture in bowl. Whisk in matzo meal, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then 1/4 cup margarine.
Brush remaining 1/4 cup margarine over bottom and sides of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place dish in oven until very hot, about 7 minutes. Pour kugel batter into hot dish. Bake until top is brown and crisp, about 1 hour.
Cut kugel into squares; serve hot alongside brisket.
The other thing that makes it brilliant is that you can get it ready in advance, and then simply stick it in the oven when the time comes.
My oven has a feature whereby you can set it to come on at a predetermined time. More than once I have left the house with the potato and carrot layer bake sitting, poised, in a cold oven, and me praying to the kitchen deity that the timer would work and I would return to a crispy, browned, savoury and perfectly cooked side dish. To date – thank the heavens! – I have not been disappointed.
My daughter Jodi and son-in-law Paul Sprackman love this crispy potato pudding. The processor makes it so easy! If you use potato starch, it becomes gluten-free &ndash you can also use it for Passover!
3 to 4 tablespoons oil
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
1 large onion, cut in chunks
3 eggs (or 2 eggs and 2 egg whites)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour or potato starch
Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour oil in 7 x 11-inch glass baking dish. Place casserole in oven and heat until oil is piping hot, about 5 minutes.
Grater attachment (food processor): Grate potatoes, using light pressure. (The harder you press, the coarser the texture.) Transfer potatoes to a colander. To wash out the starch and keep potatoes white, rinse under cold running water. Squeeze dry.
Steel Blade attachment: Process onion until minced, about 8 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, salt and pepper. Process for 3 to 4 seconds. Combine with grated potatoes and flour or potato starch in a large mixing bowl. Add most of oil, leaving 1 tablespoon oil in casserole. Mix well.
Pour potato mixture into casserole. Sprinkle a little additional oil on top. Bake for about 1 hour, or until well browned and crispy.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings. Keeps 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Reheats well. Freezing is not recommended.
Among the great Ashkenazi soul food traditions — bagels, lox, chicken noodle soup, challah, brisket and its cousins, pastrami and corned beef — few are more deeply rooted in the communal psyche than kugels, or starch-based puddings that hail from southern Germany. The word kugel, meaning sphere, globe or ball, originally referred to dumplings dropped over a soup pot, the version baked casserole pans became my people’s favorite, always made in vast quantities, served on Shabbat or holidays in squares and usually shoved in the hands of unsuspecting relatives and guests in disposable foil tins on their way home. The smart ones know resistance is futile.
While two kinds are considered staples — noodle and potato — outside my family at least, where my mother claims to this day that she married my father mostly to get his family’s noodle kugel recipe, the potato reigns supreme, likely due to its practicality as an easily reheated side dish that complements any meal worth having.
And though everyone agrees on the ingredients (potatoes, onion, eggs and fat, usually schmaltz or rendered chicken fat, of course), and that the top must be browned crisp and the inside must be tender, if you really want to get people started, ask them how to best achieve this and see if any two agree. An avalanche of eggs (says the food critic Arthur Schwartz), an unholy amount of oil (says nobody who will admit to it), shredding not grinding, grinding not shredding, shredded by hand vs. shredded by machine (usually an intergenerational dispute), wringing the extra moisture out vs. “nope, that’s wrong,” fresh from the oven vs. reheated for best flavor, with matzo meal vs. no matzo meal… are you exhausted yet? I could go on and on.
Me? I call them Lazy Latkes. As has been well-established over the last nine years on this site, I believe potato pancakes are among the earth’s perfect foods and speak of them with a fervor others reserve for bacon or pizza. Lacy mops of shredded potato and onion fried until steamy and tender inside and shatteringly crisp outside, you can have your home fries, they’re the only thing I want under my runny eggs, my son wants with applesauce and my husband wants with sour cream and caviar. And yet, they’re a bit of work, especially because I insist on wringing every droplet of moisture from the potatoes (I’m done when my arms are too tired for another squeeze) and frying them just a few at a time for best quality control.
Potato kugel, the way I make it at least, is fuss-free: no wringing, all the work done in a machine and mixed in one big bowls (usually with my fingers) then piled in a sizzling hot cast-iron skillet (I mean, this is the Smitten Kitchen, after all) and baked until seriously, why aren’t you making this yet?
In non-Semitic terms, think of the potato kugel as a massive hash brown with profoundly crispy edges, steamy-soft insides and the showstealing complement to a dinner roast or breakfast eggs. We also like it as a party appetizer with a nice applesauce or fruit chutney or, as we roll around here, creme fraiche, caviar and chives, which is what happens when you marry a Russian. Traditional variations include carrot, zucchini, caramelized onions or garlic as well as the potatoes, but I see no reason to mess with a perfect thing.
1 large or 2 small yellow onions
3 pounds or about 5 large baking — Russet or Idaho — potatoes, peeled
1/3 cup potato starch*
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons olive oil, schmaltz or another oil of your choice
By hand: Chop onions very finely and coarsely grate potatoes.
With a food processor: Blend onions in food processor with regular blade until finely ground. Switch to grating blade and grate potatoes — I like to do this one their sides, for the longest strands.
Both methods: Place onions and potatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt, pepper and starch evenly over potatoes and toss together with two forks or, as I do it, your very clean hands, evenly coating strands. Break eggs right on top and again use forks or your fingers to work them into the strands, evenly coating the mixture.
Heat a 1/4 cup oil or fat in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet** over high heat until very hot. Pour potato-egg mixture into pan carefully (it’s going to splatter) and spread evenly in pan. I like to twist and tousle the top strands a little for a pretty final texture on top. Drizzle with last tablespoon of oil. Bake in heated oven for 75 to 80 minutes, until browned on top and tender in the middle. If top browns too quickly, before center is baked, cover with foil for all but the last two minutes of baking time, though this has never been necessary in my oven.
Serve in squares, either right from the skillet or unmolded onto a platter. Kugel reheats exceptionally well in a warm oven. It keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days, and much longer (months, even) in the freezer. I like to defrost it in the fridge before rewarming it in an oven.
* Cornstarch works too. As does flour. Matzo meal is traditional. I like potato starch because it’s the least distracting and lightest. I buy mine from Bob’s Red Mill usually in a section with other BRM products at just about any store these days (hooray).
** Without a cast-iron — Use a casserole baking dish. Just heat the oil first so it’s hot when the potato mixture lands in it. (You can do this in the oven, but it will take a good 5 minutes to get very hot. Might as well do it in 60 seconds on the stove.)
Zucchini Kugel for Passover
Happy Passover everyone! As usual I’m away from home this time of year and sad to be missing my grandmother’s famous Sedar dishes. Instead of trying to replicate or come even close to the production that the ladies of my family are putting on this year, I am doing a few small dishes to make during the week if you are choosing to keep Passover. This recipe is a zucchini kugel that is all vegetable based, with just a little bit of matzo meal as a binder. The grocery store near us in Fort Myers was not exactly Passover friendly, and if you run into a situation where you don’t have matzo meal, just blend matzo until it is a fine powder. You can even use whole wheat for some added texture and extra fiber! I like this savory side dish because you can eat it at any meal. It bakes in a large casserole dish, so you can save the extras for another meal or even heat it up for breakfast with some Parmesan and over easy eggs. Enjoy!
Makes: one 9″ x 13 ” casserole dish, about 15 pieces
Prep Time: 15 minutes Bake Time: 80 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
2 large white onions, peeled and quartered
1 yellow squash
2 cups matzo meal
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350F. Heat an oiled 9×9 inch pan for 15 minutes or until the oven heats up to 350F.
Peal, slice and boil zucchini in a medium pot until tender. Mash and drain.
Combine all the ingredients aside from 1/4 cup margarine in a large bowl. Mix until combined well.
Pour into the hot 9×9 inch dish and dot with the remaining margarine. Bake for 1 hour. The edges should be brown.
Let cool and refrigerate overnight. To serve slice into squares and reheat.
Prounounced: KOO-gull (oo as in book), Origin: Yiddish, traditional Ashkenazi casserole frequently made with egg noodles or potatoes.
Recipe: Crisp Potato Kugel
This is a thick, hash-brown-like dish, good any time of year. Simply replace the matzo meal with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Do not make this in advance and reheat it that negates its crispiness.
To add some color, grate 2 medium carrots and stir into mixture or 1 medium carrot and 1 small zucchini. Don't be alarmed if the potatoes discolor slightly after grating. -- Betty Gordon
Note: For Rosh Hashana and other holidays, dietary restrictions for Passover need not be observed as noted below. Regular margarine may be used.
Hands on time: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes Serves: 10
Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
In a food processor with the shredding disc or with a hand grater, grate the onion and transfer to a large colander. Grate potatoes and add to onion (you will need to do this in several batches). Drain well, squeezing out excess moisture.
In a very large bowl, whisk eggs, salt, melted margarine and matzo meal. Stir in potatoes until well-combined.
Place 2 tablespoons margarine in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Melt in oven and tilt dish to coat evenly. Transfer potatoes to baking pan, distributing evenly. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375. Bake for 45 more minutes, or until top is crisp. Cut into squares. -- Adapted from "Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays: Complete Menus, Rituals,
and Party-Planning Ideas for Every Holiday of the Year" by Marlene Sorosky (William Morrow, $27, 1997)
Per serving: 250 calories (percent of calories from fat, 36), 5 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 10 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 42 milligrams cholesterol, 345 milligrams sodium.
- yellow onion
- baking potatoes (Russet or Idaho)
- corn starch (potato starch, flour or matzo meal will work)
- freshly ground black pepper
- large eggs
- extra-virgin olive oil, schmaltz or another oil could work.
Once you have every thing gathered up, start with grating the potatoes. You could do this entirely by hand with a box grater. I find it very relaxing to grate potatoes (and I also find it very relaxing to knead bread…but that is just me! You may prefer the convenience of your food processor).
After you have potatoes and onions grated up, they are added to the bowl with the eggs and corn starch, salt and pepper. Mix it all with your clean hands…it really is the best way to combine it all.
Next, heat up the oil in your baking dish, and then carefully add in potato mixture.
I just love my vintage baking dish. It was lighter to transport than a cast-iron to my sister-in-law’s and it did keep the kugel warm (I wrapped the top with foil paper). But a cast iron is also ideal (as long as you don’t have to carry it anywhere)!
What did my Jewish sister-in-law think of the kugel? She was so surprised that I made one (I didn’t announce it in a text) and when she took the first bite, she said, “This is just like my grandma Sally used to make it. This is so good!” I told my sister-in-law I almost went the fluffy kugel direction. She said, “No, my grandma’s kugel was never fluffy. A real kugel is just like this. It’s more dense and this is delicious. Just like my grandma Sally’s”.
That feeling when you can create something that brings back a memory of someone’s grandmother’s special recipe is truly priceless. So I thank Deb for making what a real kugel should be. This was Jewish sister-in-law approved and it is a cinch to make!
As for the challah bread, their eyes lit up when they saw me walk in with my just baked challah. They blessed it with a prayer, began to rip up chunks and pass around the table, and it was gone in a flash and everyone LOVED it. SO the sourdough challah will come soon over here for all of you.
It’s All About the Kugel
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I have been on kind of a kugel kick lately. And by lately, I mean for the past four months, with no signs of stopping. I have made kugels with noodles, kugels with quinoa, and kugels with bulgur. I&rsquove made sweet kugels that should really be classified as desserts, and savory kugels that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Eastern European heritage suggested by the word kugel (which means ball, but which I also apply to my square-shaped kugels).
What I love about kugels is how versatile they are, and how comforting they are. The perfect food to get excited about when the weather is cold and wet. You can make a kugel for dinner three times a week and never feel like you&rsquore doing the same thing over and over. It&rsquos also a great vehicle for camouflaging vegetables if you need to shoehorn some into your children or partner&rsquos diet.
I also highly recommend all of the kugel recipes recently printed in the New York Times as part of their &ldquokugel challenge&rdquo: Carrot Quinoa Kugel, , Sweet Millet Kugel with Apricots and Raisins, Cabbage, Onion and Millet Kugel and finally the Sweet Potato and Apple Kugel.
I&rsquom also a big fan of the recipe from TheKitchn from Mom&rsquos Simple Savory Kugel and this Butternut Squash Noodle Kugel from food52.
Paella is one of, if not the most popular Spanish dishes.
It traditionally calls for arborio rice, but to make it Passover-friendly, you&rsquoll use quinoa instead. Because why not?
You&rsquoll still get that awesome flavor, but with a bonus: a nutty and crunchy consistency thanks to the quinoa. Trust me, you&rsquoll love it!