Passover Part Two
As we continued planning for our first Seder, I decided that we needed to have potato kugel. A staple in Jewish cooking, kugel is one of those dishes that you can always expect to see at a holiday table – no matter where you go. Some holidays include a noodle kugel, but since this is Passover and no leavened flour is allowed, we’ll go the potato route. My cousin S makes hers with apple, Matzah and/or carrots, and while that sounds interesting, I decided to go neat and simple for my first attempt. Here’s what I used. I always trust family recipes.
The following is my mom’s version, passed on by her mother, Minnie Rosenkranz, who hailed from Shnyaten (actually, one doesn’t “hail” from a place like Shnyaten so much as flee from there).
6 medium russet potatoes
1 small onion (or 1/2 medium Onion:Onion:onion), peeled, stem end trimmed
3 large eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for coating dish
2 tablespoons matzoh meal (or all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with oil; set aside.
Peel the potatoes and submerge them in a pot of cold water. Grate the onions through the large holes of a box grater; set aside (or electric meat grinder—do not use a food processor). Grate the potatoes, removing each potato from the water as needed, through the large holes of the box grater.
Place the onion and potato mixture in a clean, lint-free dishtowel and squeeze out liquid (stop squeezing when water begins to drip rather than stream).
Place the potato mixture in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil, matzoh meal or flour, baking powder, salt, season with pepper, and stir to combine.
Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake until golden brown on top, about 1 hour.
Little did I know how easy kugel would be. Honestly, the hardest part was grating the onion. Who has a good trick for no tears? I’ve tried many tricks – bread in my mouth (supposed to absord the smell) and wearing protective glasses a la the lab – but nothing seems to work.
If you like potato pancakes, you’ll love potato kugel. Perhaps it’s even a a little healthier, as kugel is baked rather than fried. Sure, you need a little oil to grease the pan, but I’ll personally take natural oil over non-stick spray any day.
I have to say I was very happy with this kugel. Tasted liked childhood. Though next year I might experiement, or use a smaller, deeper serving dish, this can definitely become an old and favorite stand-by.
Once the meal started, we were all a little hungry and I forgot to take pictures. However here’s what remained. Considering there were only six of us, I’d say a job well done. Enjoy!