Friday, June 14, 2013

Potato Kugel for Passover

Passover? scream the Jews. Passover is over! True. However, you can eat turkey at other times than Thanksgiving, can't you? So here's a really good potato pudding recipe that tastes like a giant latke, or potato pancake. You should not have to wait for Passover to eat  this. Besides, Jewish people, who probably are not reading this anyway because Passover has passed over, (heh, heh) undoubtedly have extra matzo meal in their cupboards, left over from Passover baking and here's a way to use it up. So if you are not Jewish, but are reading this, ask a Jewish friend of he/she has any matzo meal left over from Passover. It will go stale by next year, so the friend ought to give it to you.
I made this to go along with the country ham for my son and daughter-in-law. I had never eaten or made Kugel before, so this was a revelation. Who knew it was just a big latke? It's easy as well. You have five to ten minutes of grating potatoes, a few seconds to beat the eggs, a teary, sniffy minute grating the onion, and a few more seconds to mix the whole thing up and pour it into a baking pan.
The ham and the Kugel came out at exactly the same time. But I forgot the asparagus! We had to wait until it cooked, all standing around in the kitchen, my son offering advice on what to do.
Kugel dates from the 1200s, when it was first mentioned in Germany as a bread dumpling cooked overnight in the Sabbath stew. It went through various evolutions, the website, tells us, until the mid- 19th century when home ovens became popular so people could actually bake their dough. The potato part came from the introduction of potatoes to the Jews of Eastern Europe. There is apparently a Yiddish folksong which goes, Monday, potatoes, Tuesday, potatoes, Wednesday, potatoes, until it gets to “Sunday potatoes, Monday potatoes, Tuesday and Wednesday potatoes, Thursday and Friday potatoes, but Shabbos, for a change, a potato kugel.”

Anyhow, our kugel came out crisp on top and flavorful in the middle. Because of me not paying attention to  the magic words, medium-sized, we made enough kugel to feed at least eight people.The cook is supposed to grate three cups of potatoes. I counted out six potatoes and began to grate. I must have grated at least five cups. I added an extra egg and and extra quarter cup of matzoh meal. It was just the thing to make with a country ham recipe (gasp!) from Kentucky. I did follow the directions and grate the potatoes into cold water. I don't know why this is important to do. Possibly it washes the starch off the potatoes. But I would not skip that step. Why mess with success?

Potato Kugel for Passover

6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
3 eggs
1/2 cup matzo meal
1/2 teaspoon potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 onion, grated (the recipe says optional. It is not optional. You must put in the onion if you want your kugel to taste of anything at all.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grate t he potatoes into cold water, then drain. There should be three cups.
3. Beat the eggs until they are thick. stir in the potatoes and remaining ingredients.
4. Turn the mixture into a one-and-one-half quart casserole and bake, uncovered, about one hour.
Makes six to eight servings.


  1. Am adding that Potato kugel to my Passover recipe collection. Potato kugel
    is also popular during the high holidays - coming in Sept. Will try the blintzes right away.

    1. Thank you. Allison. This is high praise.