Celebrating Modern Jewish Living Through Food, Tradition, and Family
The Backstory: When I think of kugel, I can’t help but think of my father doing his standard joke in a heavily accented Polish dialect, “Is it kugel or is it pujjink?” (meaning noodle pudding). You see, when it comes to kugel, most people think in one of two camps: noodles or potatoes, as was the intention of traditional Ashkenazi dish. That was then. More of the Backstory after the recipe…
- 6-8 large potatoes, peeled
- 1 medium onion
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 3 tbsp. matzoh meal or 2 broken matzohs
- oil or shortening
- 1 additional onion, chopped and sauteed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate potatoes and drain excess liquid. Grate in onion. Add egg, baking powder, salt, pepper and matzoh meal. Set aside.
Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan or heavy skillet with ovenproof handle with oil or shortening. Pour potato batter into pan. Pour sauteed onion pieces over top.
Bake for 1 hour or until brown on top.
…The Backstory continues: These days, kugels can be found in just about every flavor combination from asparagus to sweet potato to those stuffed with dried cherries, goat cheese, and the list goes on. So what happened to the original versions which were typically served on Shabbat meal (when they were thought to have mystical powers), or at the Seder, when specially prepared with matzoh meal?
I love a good gastronomical creation as much as the next gal, but when it comes to my kugel, I’m a purist. Potato or noodle and please stick to traditional recipes. These precious dishes are like little bites of our childhood and holiday memories. Keep the asparagus and goat cheese and fancy schmancy for salads and elegant brunches. Kugels are hearty, dense, and indulgent. No micro greens or sun dried this or that.
This recipe is a savory potato kugel that is about as perfect as you can get. The addition of a sauteed onion right before baking puts it over the top.
A special thank you to my cousin Lennie Feldberg for permission to re-publish this recipe here. I’m sure Shirlee would be pleased to know that her good cooking lives on. Thank you!