Let’s talk kugel! For those of your who are new to Jewish cooking, a kugel is a quintessentially Jewish dish that is best described as a baked pudding. The dish originated over 800 years ago in Germany and quickly became popular with Jewish families throughout Eastern Europe. There are many kinds of kugels—noodle kugels, potato kugels, sweet kugels, savory kugels. Slow cooking overnight kugels developed because Orthodox families were not allowed to cook during the hours of Shabbat. There are some terrific dairy kugel recipes that include noodles, cheese, dried fruit and spices… but during Passover, because of the kosher laws, we can’t use noodles.
For years, I searched for a pareve, noodle-free kugel recipe that could be served with meat at the Seder table. I tried many, but couldn’t seem to find one that made my taste buds happy. I resorted to creating my own, combining some of the methods I’d tried over the years. After a lot of experimentation, I finally figured out how to make a really great potato kugel.
While most kugels are dessert-type dishes, originally kugels were prepared savory rather than sweet. My Passover Potato Kugel recipe is savory; it’s crispy on the top and soft inside. In true “Ashkephardic” style, I’ve added some delicious Sephardic Middle Eastern spices to a basic Ashkenazi potato kugel. The result is a truly unique and delicious side dish for your Seder table.
The “chicken” consommé powder called for in the recipe is actually not made of chicken at all. It’s a common vegetarian ingredient in Jewish cooking that adds a savory, salty flavor to the dish without the need for meat. You can find it in the kosher section of the grocery store and at most Middle Eastern markets. If you can’t find the chicken powder, substitute it with an additional 1/2 tsp of salt.
Note: I am always working to improve my recipes. Since originally posting this recipe, I have modified it slightly by decreasing the salt and adding cayenne pepper for spice. If you don’t like a spicy flavor, omit the cayenne.
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- 5 lbs. russet potatoes (about 10 large baking sized potatoes)
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chicken consomme powder (vegetarian product)
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp black or white pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 cup matzo meal
- Extra virgin olive oil
You will also need
- Hand grater or food processor with grating attachment, electric hand mixer or immersion blender
- Peel the potatoes, then use a food processor or hand grater to grate them. Place grated potatoes into a colander and press down on them with a potato masher or your hands to squeeze out the excess water.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whip together the eggs, salt, paprika, cumin, chicken powder, turmeric, pepper and cayenne with an immersion blender or electric hand mixer till ingredients are well combined and eggs are frothy.
- Place grated potatoes in a large bowl. Add seasoned eggs and matzo meal to the bowl. Use your hands to mix all ingredients together till well combined; it should take about 3 minutes of mixing time.
- Grease a 9x12 baking dish with olive oil. Put potato mixture into the baking dish, then drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil across the top.
- Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 60-70 minutes until the top is nicely browned. Serve hot from the oven.