Until now, I have eaten my share of casseroles or puddings, but I have never made nor tasted any traditional "Kugel"...
So, to remedy that situation, I decided to bake a "Potato Kugel" and I don't regret taking this step into the unknown!
A "Kugel" is a popular Ashkenazi (Eastern European) pudding or casserole that is served as a side dish or dessert during the Jewish Shabbat or Jewish holidays. It can be savory or sweet and is always made with eggs and either Matzah meal or flour. A "Kugel" can be prepared with noodles, dairy products (milk, cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc...), all kinds of vegetables or fruits (zucchini, carrots, apples, etc...), nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, etc...) and flavorings/spices. In fact, it is a very useful low-budget and multifaceted dish that can be prepared in various ways depending on the seasons or what you have on stock.
This "Potato Kugel" is not very dissimilar in look and taste to "Latkes" or even to our Swiss Rösti speciality. I really wish to emphasize on the fact that this "Kugel" is very delicious and hyper comforting. It is the perfect kind of food one is eager to eat during the long winter evenings that are waiting for us! As I don't have any "Schmalz" at home, I decided to use duck fat instead and was not disappointed. The duck fat added a fabulous hint of meatness and nearly sweet flavor to this "Kugel" (a good choice). I loved it!!!
I came up with this invented recipe after having surfed for a few hours collecting all kinds of informations regarding "Potato Kugels". I decided to make it with potatoes, but there are also many other possible combinations left to explore...
If you want to discover other "Kugel" recipes (see link), then I warmly recommend you to visit Burekaboy's highly interesting blog named "Is That My Buréka?" from Canada! It is entirely dedicated to the Jewish cuisine and culture, but you'll also find other actual topics. Those other links might also be helpful (see link 1, link 2 & link 3)...
850g Russet potatoes
1 Big Carrot
2 Onions, chopped
1 Big clove garlic, crushed
4 Eggs (~50g), beaten
1/3 Tsp Paprika powder
1 Matzah sheet, finely ground
2 Tsp Salt
Pepper, to taste
2/3 Tsp Baking powder
4 Tbs Vegetable oil, schmalz or duck fat
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
2. Wash and peel the potatoes, then grate them coarsely and do the same with the carrot.
3. Put all dry ingredients together in a big bowl.
4. Add the grated potatoes, grated carrot, chopped onion and crushed garlic. Mix.
5. Pour the beaten eggs into the potato mixture.
6. Mix everything together.
7. Pour the final mixture into an oiled/greased baking dish (using 1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil/schmalz/duckfat).
8. Pat the mixture flat.
9. Dot the top with the leftover oil/schmalz/duckfat.
10. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until the top is crusty and golden brown.
Any kind of firm baking potato is ok.
For this recipe, the potatoes are not always peeled; it all depends on you.
The carrot can be replaced by a zucchini.
If you desire, use smoked paprika powder instead of the traditional one.
Instead of grinding the Matzah sheet, use 1/2 cup Matzah meal or 1/3 cup flour.
Work fastly after grating the potatoes lest they turn grey.
Your "Potato Kugel" has to be crisp outside and moist inside.
Let sit for 8-10 minutes before serving.
Once baked, it freezes very well.
Eat the "Potato Kugel" alone, with a salad, steamed vegetables or as an accompaniment to meat such as brisket or roasted chicken.
(Shabbat -Pic by www2.feujworld.com)
(Potato Kugel -Pic by www.wholefoodsmarket.com)