Florence Leff’s Potato Kugel Recipe

Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: | Active Time: | Makes: 6 servings

The following is my mom’s version, passed on by her mother, Minnie Rosenkranz, who hailed from Shnyaten (actually, one doesn’t “hail” from a place like Shnyaten so much as flee from there). Shnyaten (rhymes with “rotten”) is a small town near Bukovina that’s been volleyed between several countries since my grandmother left (at that time, it was “part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,” as she was wont to sniff). To read sociohistorical background on that time and place, check out the classic Memoirs of an Anti-Semite: A Novel in Five Stories, by Gregor von Rezzori. To taste it, cook the following.

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 small onion (or 1/2 medium Onion:Onion:Onion:onion), peeled, stem end trimmed
  • 3 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for coating dish
  • 2 tablespoons matzoh meal (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with oil; set aside.
  2. Peel the potatoes and submerge them in a pot of cold water. Grate the onions through the large holes of a box grater; set aside (or electric meat grinder—do not use a food processor). Grate the potatoes, removing each potato from the water as needed, through the large holes of the box grater.
  3. Place the onion and potato mixture in a clean, lint-free dishtowel and squeeze out liquid (stop squeezing when water begins to drip rather than stream).
  4. Place the potato mixture in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil, matzoh meal or flour, baking powder, salt, season with pepper, and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake until golden brown on top, about 1 hour.

Note: Leftovers are good cold or reheated, but after a couple of days, crumble up the remaining kugel and cook it with scrambled eggs.