If savoury potato kugels are at one end of the kugel spectrum, sweet are at the other. Ask half a dozen Jewish cooks how they make their kugels and you'll probably get a dozen answers. Some differences are regional. Others occur because recipes have been handed down through the generations with each generation adding their own special take on what to add.
We’re an equal opportunity kugel home, all are welcome. One particularly scrumptious kugel that is a yontif and Shabbat favourite in my house is a sweet peppery kugel called Yerushalmi, or Jerusalem, kugel.
Supposedly Yerushalmi kugel originated in Jerusalem by followers of the Gaon of Vilna, a late 18th century Jewish scholar. Made with thin noodles, pepper, salt and sugar, it is tricky because it has a caramel base that can stick or burn. However, no matter which of the following kugel recipes you choose to set before your guests know for a certainty that they’re all worthy of serving again and again and again. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, at this time of year, kugel is actually the equivalent of soul food.
1 (12 z.) package thin egg noodles
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Strain and set aside to cool.
In a small 1 quart saucepan, dissolve the sugar and oil over low heat. Cook until sugar turns medium brown, stirring occasionally (this should take about 20 minutes). Immediately pour caramelized sugar over cooled noodles, and stir with woden spoon to separate lumps (some will remain and this is okay, ugar will remelt during baking). Let cool to room temperature so as not to cook eggs.
Mix eggs with salt and pepper and add to noodle mixture. Mix well. Preheat oven to 350. Pour into the 9×13 pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and bake an additional 1/2 hour. Serves 8 to 10
ONION AND NOODLE KUGEL
This dish is a modified version of a recipe created by Susan Belsinger, a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier.
1 lb. wide egg noodles
about 2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. margarine
1 lb. onions, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise 1/4- in. thick
2 cups milk
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
about 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup and 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. paprika
few dashes cayenne pepper
2 tsp. freshmarjoram or thyme, or 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram or thyme
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp. fresh snipped chives or green onions
3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
Cook the noodles al dente, toss them with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 2-quart dish and set it aside. In a large saute pan, heat the butter and remaining one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
While the onions are sauteing, in a large bowl combine the milk, cottage cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, 1/3 cup of the parmesan, the paprika, cayenne, marjoram or thyme, parsley and chives and blend until the ingredients are well mixed. Add the cooked noodles to the bowl, along with the sauteed onions, and stir well to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs with the remaining parmesan over the top of the kugel. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 and bake for 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven and serve hot. Serves 8 to 10 as a first course or side dish; 4 to 6 as a main dish.
POTATO CARROT AND SUCCHINI KUGEL
Carrots, zucchini, and two kinds of onions add color and flavor to this recipe.
3 medium onions (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb. total), peeled, cut into 1-in. pieces, divided
14 green onions, coarsely chopped, divided
5 8-oz. russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-in. 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 matzah meal or bread crumbs
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted margarine or vegetable oil, divided
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400. 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 matzah meal, 2 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, then 1/4 cup margarine. Brush remaining 1/4 cup margarine over bottom and sides of 13 x9 x2-in. glass baking dish. Place the prepared dish in oven until very hot, about 7 minutes. Remove the empty dish and pour the kugel batter into the hot dish. Bake until top is brown and crisp, about 1 hour. Serves 8
CAULIFLOWER AND LEEK KUGEL
Coarsely mashed vegetables are the main ingredients in this utterly surprising — and irresistible.
8 cups cauliflower florets (about 2 medium heads)
6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 cups coarsely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts; about 3 large)
6 tbsp. bread crumbs or matzo meal
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, divided
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/3 cup almonds, toasted, chopped
Preheat oven to 350. Cook cauliflower in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; transfer to large bowl and mash coarsely with potato masher. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and sauté until tender and just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Add leek mixture to cauliflower.
Mix in bread crumbs or matzo meal and mix well. Set aside. In another bowl beat together the eggs, 1 tbsp. parsley, 1 tablespoon dill, salt, and pepper and then stir the egg mixture into the cauliflower mixture. Brush an 11×7-in. baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil. Spread cauliflower mixture evenly in prepared dish.
Mix almonds, remaining 7 tbsp. parsley, 7 tbsp. dill, and 2 tbsp. oil in medium bowl to blend. Sprinkle evenly over kugel. (Can be made 24 hours ahead of time. Cover and chill.) Bake kugel uncovered until set in center and beginning to brown on top, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Serves 8
2 cans (15 oz) creamed corn
1/2 cup melted margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup non dairy milk substitute
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. In a bowl combine all the ingredients except the corn. Mix to combine and then add the corn. Pour the batter into the prepared casserole. Bake for 1hr 15 min. Serves 4 to 6. This recipe can be doubled.