For our household, I’m often looking for easy, crowd pleasing, economical meals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up how to eat a potato for dinner. But happily, one of my searches brought this kugel to light. The original recipe never mentioned serving it as dinner, but that didn’t stop me. Doubling the proportions, using a large casserole dish, and adding a sprinkle of cheese on top (or not), this seemed substantial and tasty enough if served along a nice side of greens or veggie or fruit. While I make it for dinner many times, it also serves as a stupendous brunch dish. Plus, I love how it takes under a half an hour to whip up. The rest is hands off time in the oven.
What is potato kugel? It’s sort of like a giant hash brown. Heating the oil and letting it bake a good long time in the oven creates some wonderfully tasty crunchy, crisp edges. The middle, however, is soft and creamy, helped out with a few eggs.
I’m going to give the generous amount down below, but this can easily be halved and cooked in a smaller dish or large cast iron skillet. Leftovers aren’t a bad thing, though, especially with this. It reheats beautifully especially smashed on a skillet over the stovetop, and tossed with some scrambled eggs, it makes a great lunch. Enjoy!
Oh, I should mention, especially when making this for a crowd, a food processor is nearly essential. Otherwise, God bless your arms!
Serves a crowd, at least 12
3-4 small onions
6lbs russet potatoes, peeled
4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper (please do more, if you like peppery potatoes!)
2/3 cup flour (corn or potato starch would work too)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
favorite cheese, for grating on top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Place large oven proof casserole dish in oven to get hot along with the oven (I’ve used a 11in x 15in x 2in glass dish as well as a 9.5in x 13in x 3.5 in. Or two smaller ones would work too.)
Using a food processor with the regular blade attachment, blend onions until they are well ground. (If no food processor, chop until very finely diced). Move to a very large bowl.
Switch to grater blade, then add peeled potatoes and grate. You will likely have to do this in batches. My 7-cup food processor gets packed full about half way through. (If no food processor, use a regular grater and brace yourself for a test of patience and endurance.) Once all the potatoes are grated, move to the same very large bowl as the onions.
Measure salt, pepper, and flour (or starch) directly onto and over the potatoes and onions. Using your hands (they really are the best tools here, though a spoon or two forks would do), mix everything together until well blended.
At this point, wash your hands, and measure the 1/2 cup of olive oil into the preheated dish. You want the oil to get hot in there for at least 5 min. (Divide the oil between both pans, if you are using two smaller ones.)
Crack eggs directly on top of potato mixture. Again using your hands, mix everything up until it is well blended.
If oil has heated in the oven for at least 5 min, carefully take the pan(s) out of the oven and pour the potato mixture in. Sizzling is a very good sign (but beware of hot oil splatters!). Use your hands to twist the strands to make an attractive pattern on top, if you’d like. Drizzle some more olive oil on top, then pop the dish back in the oven and bake for about 75 min. I’ve never found this time to be too much as I love a crispy potato, but feel free to check on it around an hour if you worry it will get too dark for your tastes.
Once done, grate some of your favorite cheese on top. If you’d like, pop it back in the oven for a minute or two, but honestly, the heat coming off those potatoes will suffice to melt the cheese pleasantly.
It’s a good idea to let the kugel rest at least 5-10 minutes before serving as it is piping hot, though that can be hard. When ready to serve, cut into squares, fight over the corners and edges, and enjoy!
I’ve made this recipe lots of times without the cheese, but it is a nice addition that hefts it up as well. I also think crumbled bacon or sausage would work very well, even just a small amount would add great flavor and make the meal even more substantial. I almost added scallions this time and debated trying out some herbs or spices (garlic is an obvious choice too), but opted for introducing it in it’s simplicity. It’s so good just as is.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.