Potato kugel. When I first started exploring heritage foods, I was intrigued by this one. There was a familiarity to it, like recognizing an old friend on the street in passing.
I think I used a @toriavey recipe the first time I made it. I know I’ve referred to @leah.koenig and @gefilteria since. What I remember with absolute certainty is how that first crunchy bite sent me back to my childhood, at the table in my grandparents’ condo. I fell in love again with this dish and it started me off on a road of rediscovering these heritage shtetl foods that have since become the focus of my cooking. Not only have they become the focus of my cooking, but they actually made me care about it. No more scrambled egg brinner for me! I can competently make some things now.
For this specific potato kugel, I added some shredded zucchini and just enough shredded carrot so you know it’s there but it’s not hogging the show like an overly ambitious improv theater kid. I also added sweet and smoked paprika because these spices run through my veins. (Should probably see a doctor about that.)
Paprika Potato Kugel with Carrots and Zucchini
- 4 medium potatoes
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 zucchini
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or schmaltz
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt add more salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp black pepper add more pepper to taste
- 25 grams matzo meal or just shy of three tablespoons
- 1 tbsp butter to grease the baking dish and brush over the kugel
- Place a 22.5cm x 16cm (10 inch x 6 inch) baking dish into the oven and pre-heat to 350 F (180 C).
- While the baking dish and oven are heating up, grate your potatoes (skins on), carrots (peel first), zucchini, and onion. Combine the scraps in a large bowl.
- Move your scraps to a cheese cloth or colander to squeeze out the liquid over the sink. (I find a cheese cloth is easier to get more liquid out.) When done, let it rest on the counter.
- Whisk four eggs with your spices, oil (or schmaltz), salt, and pepper until fluffy.
- Put your scraps into a large bowl and pour the egg mixture over it. Add 25 grams or about three tablespoons of matzo meal and combine with your hands.
- Take the pre-heated baking dish out of the oven and drop some butter or vegetable oil onto the dish to grease it. It should instantly sizzle. Once the pan is sufficiently greased, carefully transfer your kugel mixture into the baking dish. Don't be afraid to really pack it in.
- When done, brush your remaining butter or a little bit of vegetable oil over the top and place it in the oven for 45 – 60 minutes. Check every now and again to make sure the top isn't browning too quickly. If so, cover with aluminum foil. The kugel is done when it has a nice golden top and you can stick something into the center and it comes out clean. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the center should read at about 160 F (71 C).
- Let the kugel rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before cutting it up and serving.