THE SECRET OF ALL KUGEL: kugel is baked custard with suspended solids. Not the most appetizing description, but it helps to conceptualize it. It also sometimes justifies use of eggs and fatty liquids above and beyond the call of recipes. KEEP IT RICH!!! Here is my secret for great potato kugel, of whatever type: use more onion than you;d think and saute 25 - 50% of the onion before adding to the batter. Oh yeah!! The batter is better!!
re: Adam Holland
I agree. Another secret to a great potato kugel is to heat the pan in the oven with some of the oil until it is sizzling, and then add the batter to the hot pan. As for cornbread, it makes a nice crust for maximum textural interest. I also do this for cauliflower kugel, but not for noodle kugels.
To Nancy Berry,
(for some reason I could not make the reply prompt work under your post)
Hi! I guess from my confusion about the location you can tell I never visited Grossinger's. A fact I dearly regret. But AT LEAST I enjoyed eating many times at the dearly departed Ratner's on the Lower East Side. Now, just don't tell me it was in the West Village, OK?
Hhhhmmmm...well, first there are savory and sweet kugels. Of the savory there are potato and noodle varieties. Sweet is noodle. And for each kind there are as many recipes as there are Jewish mothers.
I'm looking at Jennie Grossinger's "The Art of Jewish Cooking" Jennie was the proprietor of the most famous Catskill, NY Jewish hotel - in the fabled "Borscht Belt." One thing great about this cookbook is that she gives you menus - so we can answer your question about classic accompaniments by checking Jennie's menus that include kugels.
1) Dairy meal:
Cold borscht (meatless)
Sweet and sour cabbage
2)For a meat meal:
Tzibbele kugel (eggs, cracker or matzoh meal, onions)
3) friday Night Dinner
Chicken soup with mandlen
Carrot and apple tzimmes
4) Succot Dinner:
Gefilte fish and horseradish
Barley bean soup
Roast stuffed goose
Pickled veg. salad
Pineapple chiffon pie
Assorted nuts, dates, figs
Chicken soup with mandlen
Stewed prune compote
Dates and figs
re: niki rothman
I had another thought about the bread. In my house (and I assume in Jennie's) good bread on the table was taken for granted. During the week it was rye bread or good rolls. On the weekend, it was Challah (or Cholly, as my mother called it.) Perhaps it was simply assumed that there would be rye bread or Challah at these meals.
re: Nancy Berry
This is, no doubt, the answer to the mystery - of course they had challah for shabbat (as I've learned to say on the West Coast - in NYC, city of my birth - it's shabbos), Jennie just didn't think to mention that OF COURSE friday night would include challah - likewise she does not mention the shabbos wine.
re: niki rothman
Actually, Grossinger's was in Grossinger, NY, near Liberty, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, not in Catskill, NY, which is on the other side of the Catskills from the Borscht Belt (where I grew up.) I wonder whether the reason that there isn't a Challah in the menu of recipes is that Grossinger's didn't bake their own Challahs or rye breads; I believe that they got them from one of the excellent local bakeries in the area. Oh, how I miss those bakeries -- corn rye, hard rolls, black and whites, danish, raspberry puff pastry twists, linzer cookies, etc.,etc.!
I don't have a recipe per se. But this was how we made it in our house.
1 large package of egg noodles, boiled.
Run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain.
Add in a couple of eggs, mixed up. Add 1 chopped up onion (more or less). Or, you can use those minced dehydrated onions - actually that's what my mom used. But I HATE them. Mix in black pepper and salt to taste.
Preheat a 12" frypan. Add a good amount of oil to pan. Growing up it was corn oil. Pour in the noodle mixture. It should sizzle when it hits the pan.
Cook until well browned on one side. Invert pan onto plate and flip over back into pan, and finish cooking on the other side. Most likely, you will need to add a bit more oil to the pan first. The idea was to have the outside of the kugel very crispy, sort of "deep fried". This is not supposed to be a light dish LOL. It's meant to be greasy - that's part of the allure of it.
This is not necessary traditional but it is how my grandmother (who is 100 years old) taught my mom and is still the only way it is made it in our home and my extended families homes too. We never made sweet kugels. There's a long thread about the differences between sweet/savory types of kugels if you want to dig it up to read.
BTW, obviously from my recipe you can see there are other types of kugel, not just potato. I happened to click on the link on the site and noticed that the featured article was about potato kugel. For some reason we never made potato kugels in my family. Don't know why. I think because my grandmother and mom preferred potato pancakes over them. Potato kugels being too dense, pancakes being nice and crisp :-)
Wow! My husband and his parents, forever it seems, have bemoaned the fact that his grandmother's kugel recipe was long lost. But, like your 100 year old's recipe they would all say it could not have been plainer. Just eggs, fat and noodles. Sugar never went near it. Your recipe, or perhaps we should just say "strategy", sounds closer than anything else I've ever seen. I'm definitely going to try it!
I seriously doubt they had corn oil back in Romania or wherever your relatives came from a hundred years ago - so I'm betting on schmaltz.
re: niki rothman
Niki, I bet schmaltz was it too. My grandmother, the one that(still on occassion!) cooks for us, is from Austria originally.
We used to have it on baked potatoes as kids, and I know my grandmother used it to cook chicken livers. I guess by the time I was born, using it to cook kugel may have gone out of favor with the advent of large bottles of shelf stable cooking oils being so available in supermarkets.
Sometimes i think schmaltz may have been the reason the male members of the family died so much younger (of heart ailments or cancer) than the women. I never use it myself. Recently, I've made 2 discoveries I'd like to pass along for healthy fats that taste wonderful: Smartbeat margarine and grapeseed oil. You can fry at high heat with both too.
My husbands family pronounce it kee-gull, mine say kugel.
I haven't decided what type I am making as I have never ventured into Jewish cuisine before.
I go through phases of obssesivly cooking certain cuisines...I am currently awaiting 'The Arab Table' cook book in the mail.
In the mean time...kugel sounds like a good first step so thank you for the links and suggestions.
I would like to start with a good basic...any suggestions??
My mother and grandmother always made a sweet kugel, with crushed pineapple, sliced apples and raisins. This is basic comfort food to me. One year I made a spinach/cheese kugel for Chanukah and it was fantastic. If you make a brisket that isn't too sweet, it's the perfect Jewish holiday meal. I've got both recipes at home if you want them.
You might also check out a really good book by Joan Nathan called "Jewish Cooking in America." (That's actually where I got the spinach kugel recipe). It's a great source for Jewish cooking, as well as many anecdotes relating to both the recipes and Jewish culture in America. I think she has a website too.
Thinking of kugel always brings a smile to my face - my husband is the product of a mixed marriage. His dad was Jewish and his mom is not. A traditional Easter (!) dinner at his mom's house always has ham accompanied by sweet noodle kugel! Cracks me up every year.
Pot roast and a savory kugel are fabulous together - as the other poster said. That'd be my vote.
re: Nancy Berry
Wow....this is the largest list of Kugels I have ever seen!! I have finally found what I have been looking for!
I have been searching everywhere for a unique interpretation of a Potato Kugel ...something everyone comments as a boring, blah dish.
I'm going to try this one this year but omit the red bell peppers as not everyone is a fan Maybe I'll substitute more onions? Love the addition of ground almonds :
Sweet Potato/Yam Kugel w/Red Peppers
Source: Myra Chanin and Ethel Hofman, Philadelphia Inquirer (on-line edition), 9/24/97
Serves: 8 to 10
4 large (2 pounds) sweet potatoes/yams, peeled
1 small onion, quartered
1-1/2 cups parsley sprigs
1 large red bell pepper, cored and diced in 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
2 egg whites
3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 2-1/2-quart baking dish with non-stick vegetable spray.
Cut sweet potatoes (yams) into 2" chunks. Place in food processor with onion, and chop coarsely (may need to be done in two batches). Add parsley and process to chop sweet potatoes finely.
Spoon into a large bowl. Add red bell pepper, almonds, broth, eggs and egg whites, 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Drizzle remaining oil over. Cover lightly with foil.
Bake in preheated oven 1-1/4 hours, removing foil last 15 minutes. Kugel should be nicely browned and vegetables tender.
Advance Preparation: Cool. Place a layer of wax paper on surface, then cover tightly with foil. Label and freeze. Transfer to refrigerator 24 hours before needed. Remove wax paper, cover again with foil, and place in preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes or until heated through.
I increased amount of onion and I sautéed it. I decreased amount of parsley.
Posted by Caryn Bloomberg
One note is that, Joan Nathan suggests it is better to prep the Kugel the day before but to not cook it until just prior to serving (contrary to what it says above) . Also, she recommends against freezing Potato Kugel.
FWIW, I'm making this recipe for the first time this year for Passover.
I didn't follow the recipe exactly: I've already baked my Garnet yams, peeled the skin, and mashed the flesh. I've separately caramelized two medium onions diced and I'm about to saute two red peppers which I've cut into dice. Later today, I'll combine the rest of the ingredients per the instructions and turn the mixture into a casserole to be refrigerated and, then, baked tomorrow. Incidentally, as a counterpoint to all the sweetness from the yams and caramelized onions, I expect to add some chipotle powder.