The Kosher Gastronome

Livin' the kosher dream

Potato Kugel – Kosher Link up

KOSHERCONNECTION5

So I’ll go out on a limb here, and let you all know, that I’m pretty much a pro at potato kugel. I know that’s a pretty brash statement right there, but I’ve been making potato kugel since I was about 13 years old. It was really the first step into my decent of food madness. However, it’s been 2 plus years on this here blog, and not one mention of potato kugel? No recipe? Nothing!? Well for some reason, my potato kugel is very hard to give over. I never had a recipe, and kind of am at the point where I make the kugel by feel. So why the change of heart? Why am I all of a sudden writing up a post on potato kugel? Well to be honest, this month’s kosher LinkUp theme is root vegetables, and I’ve been super busy lately, and really haven’t had the time to take pictures and write up a post, so I figured, I’d be making the potato kugel anyway for Shabbos, so like everything else in my life, I’d be able to kill two birds with one stone, and half ass it, awesome! I can already hear you in the background rolling your eyes, but fear not, I’ll be back with some quality posts once I can get my life in order…so in like 15 years give or take.

One of the nice things about not being consistent when making kugel, is that every week is a surprise as to how it will come out. Will it be too salty? Too garlicky? (which as my Hungarian compadres will know, is not really a thing) Too peppery? You get the gist. And another thing is, over the years I’ve tried different things. Different ingredients, different techniques, etc, but one thing that hasn’t changed – I grate the potatoes by hand. Yeah, call me old fashioned, but I can tell the difference between a potato kugel made by hand, and one made by machine. Now that’s not to say if it’s made by machine it won’t be good, but here at casa del Fogel we like our potato kugel to be just slightly chunky, not like a puree, and there’s no way you can get that with a machine.

All right, so let’s start with some potatoes shall we? I like to peel them and to prevent them from browning I keep them submerged in water. If I have my act together (which if you haven’t caught on yet, is never) I would actually put it in the fridge over night, because that’s how Bobby (ie – my grandmother) did it, and it also makes sense, a colder potato takes longer to brown, and while a browned potato will still make a good potato kugel, it’s still something I try to avoid.

DSC_3788

Next thing up is the grater. Of course you can’t just use a normal box grater because that would just be too normal, you have to use one of these types of graters, which you can only buy from an old women on the side of the road somewhere in rural Hungary. This is the grater I’ve used every time (well almost, more on that in a bit) for the 16 plus years I’ve been making it.

DSC_3790

So grate your potatoes (which by the way, would be a great idiom…I’m not sure for what, but I can totally imagine someone saying: “..and by the way, don’t forget to grate your potatoes”…it has a nice ring to it…but I digress) and you really want to work fast here (so it doesn’t brown), which can be a little tricky if it’s your first attempt at using one of those graters.

DSC_3791

Look at that consistency, it’s not too mushy, not too chunky…just right

To be honest, up until recently I used garlic and onion powder, because that’s how Bobby does it, but the good food maniac (I’m trying to think of another word other than foodie, which I hate) I am, just couldn’t let it continue. So I grate an onion, and mince some fresh garlic in there, and it’s really stepped up the kugel in the past few months. However, another thing the onion might do is since it’s acidic, it prevents the potatoes from browning also, but that’s just an educated guess on my part.

DSC_3794

Now for the piece de resistance. Before I start grating, I pre-heat the oven, and put the pan in there with some oil. I let it heat up, and when I’m done with all the grating, and adding my salt and pepper, I take the scalding hot oil out of the oven, and pour it over the spices (I make sure the pepper and garlic are on top), which allows them to bloom, and it sizzles, so that’s pretty awesome. Once that’s all mixed, I add my eggs. It’s hard to tell you how many eggs because most of the time I’m not sure myself. I would tell you 1 egg per pound of potato, but that’s not a hard fast rule. Eggs will help bind everything, and keep it more solid, but it will also add to the browning of the crust (as will the oil).

DSC_3796

Anyway, I cook the potato kugel at 350 degrees until it’s ready, about 1.5-2 hours, depending on size, and type of pan you use, but you’ll know it’s ready when your house smells like Shabbos, and there’s a nice brown crust on the top. My favorite type of pan for the kugel is a glazed ceramic souffle pan, which gives a lot of interior, and makes a nice crust (because of the heat retention capabilities of the ceramic), but it is a little big for just the wife and I.

DSC_3797

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for now. Oh, one more thing – I did mention that I would mention something about using the grater every time. Well to be perfectly honest, one acceptable alternative in our family is the Braun Food processor, using the “e” blade. I’ve used it if I was making a whole lot of potato kugels (like the 6 pans that I made for Daniella’s kiddush). But to be really honest, it’s good, but it’s just not the same.

Now for all of you not convinced, I openly invite/challenge you to come by any Shabbos and taste my kugel, and tell me that you can’t taste the difference. Now that’s brash right there.

As like last time – this is all part of the Kosher Connection LinkUp, with the theme of Root vegetables, and since I know you want to check out what other slightly more normal people have to say about that topic, and since you probably want something just a little more exciting than plain ole’ potato kugel, click on that little frog mentschey (man, I cannot tell you how long I’ve wanted to use the word mentschey in a post…normally mentschey is strictly used for lego men, but we’ve extended it to this guy…it’s a pretty great day)…so go ahead click on it.


Potato Kugel

We’ll assume you’re making kugel for a standar d Shabbos meal, for like 6-8 people, but you can obviously scale the recipe up/down for your needs

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes (2.5 pounds), peeled
  • 3-4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small-medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons salt (total guess on that one)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper (also a guess, and for the love of all that’s sacred, use freshly grated black pepper, it’s really not that hard to find, and unless you like the taste of saw dust, it really makes a difference)
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350, and when oven’s hot, add your oil to your pan, and heat up in the oven
  2. Peel potatoes, and place in water (if you want to do this the night before, place potatoes in fridge, in water)
  3. Grate potatoes and onions. Add salt, minced garlic, and pepper (making sure the pepper and garlic are on top)
  4. Being careful not to burn yourself (my lawyers told me I had to say that), pour oil over top of the potato mixture, let it sizzle, and mix it through
  5. Once cooled, add your eggs, and mix until incorporated
  6. Add to pan (if the pan has good heat retention [like a ceramic one, and not like an aluminum one] you should start to hear the kugel sizzle as it hits the pan).
  7. Bake for about 1.5-2 hours, or until it’s nice and brown and delicious (well maybe wait a little to decide for yourself how delicious it is, because it’s probably going to be hot)
About these ads

39 responses to “Potato Kugel – Kosher Link up

  1. Kitchen Tested (@kitchentested) October 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Wow, nice hand-grated potato kugel! I always loves little chunks of potatoes and onions in my kugel and I am very impressed with yours. Now I just have to make the effort to hand-grate!

  2. Ruthie October 22, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Sounds yummy. My favorite food of all time. Actually you don’t have to go to Hungary for grater as they sell them at Towne on Main st.. Since you’ve been using it for so many years I think you’re due for a new one. You won’t believe the difference. I would gladly pick one up for u. Also may I take this opportunity to wish u a very happy birthday and many more. How about a grater as a present?

  3. Hindy October 22, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Love this! I want a grater a like yours! I have never been good at making potato kugel. Going to have to try your method.

  4. pragmaticattic October 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Okay, I’m trying your kugel. I have the same grater (someone gave it to me with a lecture about how it is THE ONLY way to make potato kugel), but my potato kugel never comes out right. Never. I have a black potato kugel thumb or something. Potato kugel is my recipe nemesis.

    • thekoshergastronome October 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      No! say it ain’t so…Don’t fear the kugel, embrace it. What happens to your kugels?

      • pragmaticattic October 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm

        They just don’t have the taste and texture I want. There is always something a little off. Too greasy or too dry, or too salty or not salty enough, or too grayish or too white, and usually too mushy. And the funny thing is that I don’t have any problem with potato latkes, just kugel. It is like there is a kugel curse. I think part of the problem is grating and seasoning a large volume of potatoes (I make smaller amounts of batter for latkes), especially on that hand grater.
        Did you put the above amount of potato kugel batter in a pyrex loaf pan?

      • thekoshergastronome October 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        I use my kugel recipe for my latkes, and yeah, I’ve had potatoe kugels turn gray on me too, I’m not really sure why it does it, although it could be from the oxidation, but I’m not 100% sure…one thing I can say for sure is there’s a difference between quality potatoes, and inferior potatoes, and old vs new potatoes. And the “recipe” i put down, I would use a ceramic round souffle pan, probably 8 or 10″

  5. koshertamar October 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    A good old potato kugel, I am truly impressed that you grate them by hand and with a special grater, that says a lot.

  6. Batsheva October 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    well put.well put.
    im suprised there was no joke about ‘robbing the potato’s.
    and i think we should take this time for a moment of silence for Mommy’s white circular ceramic dish that she used to make the kugel in. nothing will ever compare.

    • thekoshergastronome October 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks. I actually bought a cermaic dish, which is very similar, and of course I bought it from Wegman’s, my favorite store…and I wanted to write something about robbing the potatoes, but forgot to get to it

  7. phoenixfresser October 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Wow! Revealing the secret!
    The kids will be ecstatic!

  8. Tali Simon October 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I make my potato kugel with one sauteed onion and one grated onion, and I love what both do for the flavor. On my to-do list, though, is to make a potato kugel with two sauteed vs. two grated to see how the taste is magnified. Never too many potato kugels in the house!

  9. phoenixfresser October 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Instructions for stove-top (double skillet, maybe)?

    • thekoshergastronome October 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      so I’ve done the stove top, and it’s a very suitable alternative. The way I’ve found the most success is: heating up a lot of oil and over high heat add the potatoes (but not too much, you want it to be like a half an inch from the your skillet) for that nice crust, and once the crust it good and, uh, crusty, (2-3 minutes?), lower the heat to medium, and let it cook a little longer, (5-10 minutes?), and invert a plate over the skillet, and carefully flip (you might want to do this over a sink so as not to fling oil everywhere), and then return the skillet to a high flame, add some more oil, and let it heat up, and when hot, slide the kugel in (carefully, obviously), raw side down, until it’s crusty, than lower to medium and cook until done (another 5-10 minutes?)…I basically cook it like an overgrown latke

  10. pragmaticattic October 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    “There’s a difference between quality potatoes, and inferior potatoes, and old vs new potatoes.” Elaborate please . . . . Do you use Yukon Gold, Idaho, what? And what just age have to do with it?

    • thekoshergastronome October 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      It’s hard to convey but I can tell the difference between a good and a bad potato based on feel alone. Usually the tell tale signs are when I’m peeling and grating. When I peel, if it peels nicely and smoothly (not grainyish), and if there’s the right amount of moisture. Also, a fresher potato has a “whiter” color, whereas an older potato is more yellow/green (I’m colorblind, so I’m not sure exactly what color it is). A fresher potato won’t be as “rubbery,” and you can tell that when you grate the potato, and you feel how much it gives to your pressure, it will more taut. The older they get, the more they are likely to be have these older characteristics. 99% of the time I make it with regular russet (Ie the ones people say are “Idaho” potatoes). I have at times used Yukon. It comes out a little yellower, and a little more buttery tasting, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, than one with regular potatoes I would venture to say, the older the potato, the more the starches break down into simple sugars, which can lead to a slightly sweeter potato kugel, one that oxidizes faster, and one that won’t have as much structure, but those are all educated guesses. But I have used potatoes that are old, and the kugel comes out inferior in quality And no, I never squeeze the water out. If you’re looking to make latkes that are all crunch, and no moist interior, that’s when you squeeze out the water. It’s like the difference between a cake and a cookie. Both are good, but if you’re making a large cake, you wouldn’t want one big block of cookie. Personally, when making latkes, I don’t squeeze out the water, because I like a moister latke (kind of like a cakey cookie, using the same mashal)

      • pragmaticattic October 24, 2012 at 9:08 am

        Ok. Interesting. I’m going to give your method a shot. I have always squeezed out the excess moisture from the grated potatoes–maybe that is where I have been going wrong. I’m a little scared to add 2 Tbl. of salt, though . . .

      • thekoshergastronome October 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

        Cool, let me know how it goes…and yeah 2 tablespoons of salt does sound like a lot…it was a total guesstimate, I would suggest giving a little taste to the raw batter (before adding your eggs) and seeing whether you have enough salt or not

  11. pragmaticattic October 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    And you don’t squeeze the liquid out of the potatoes?

  12. Sina (@thekosherspoon) October 22, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    im a firm believer that the old fashioned way definitely tastes better! i’m not such a kugel person but your recipe sounds like the real deal.

  13. Yosef - This American Bite October 23, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I feel like I make up kugel recipe every time I make it. Next time I will follow your directions!

  14. Dvora October 24, 2012 at 4:21 am

    My recipe, which I got from a cousin who is famous for her kugel, is nearly identical. One big difference is adding about 1/2 cup of boiling water (not really sure – I don’t measure either) to the freshly grated potatoes. It has the benefit of “rewhitening” potatoes that may have started to brown. Also, I add the hot oil immediately before putting the batter in the pan. We used to use a grater until we got the Braun with the kugel blade (even here in Israel that’s what the stores call it!). Really speeds things along.
    Oddly, the potatoes here don’t brown in the same way or as quickly as they did in the US.

    • thekoshergastronome October 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

      So it’s funny, I was planning on mentioning the few other things I used to do, but I never got around to it, and one of the other things I’ve done was add boiling water too. I’ve stopped, because I didn’t see the added benefit, but I might give that a try again, to see if I could spot the difference.
      Another thing I used to do, but since stopped, was add some flour. Both of these things I got from my grandmother, but it wasn’t in her original “recipe” and I’ve stopped that also, figuring that there’s enough starch in the potatoes, so why add some more.
      As for adding the oil, you add it after you add the eggs? Many years ago I did that, and scrambled the eggs by accident. So now I add the oil, wait for it to cool slightly, then add eggs, and then place right in the oven

  15. Melissa {lilmisscakes} October 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I can’t believe you hand grate the potatoes and onions! It definitely makes a better kugel but, wow-what a workout!

  16. shobie111 October 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    My mother has the same grater! I think that was standard in the 1970′s

  17. pragmaticattic October 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I made the kugel and I went with maybe 1/2 Tbl. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. It was good, better than some of my other efforts, but my kugel still needs work. I think I want the kugel to be thicker and drier. What do you think about par-boiling the potatoes before grating?

    • thekoshergastronome October 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Nice, at least it was an improvement right? I don’t see reason to parboil This could be a matter of taste? I like my kugel thick, and moist, so for the thickness part, I don’t know, but for the dry issue, maybe cooking it longer? Was there a nice brown crust on the kugel?

      • Laura October 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

        Yes, it had a very dark brown crust, top and bottom. I have to confess that I went with a 400 degree oven instead of 350 degrees.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: