Once again I want to bring up another facet of comfort food, homemade Kugel. It can be enjoyed on those days when you’re feeling humdrum. It can be for whatever reason and isn’t because the weather is chilling you to the bone either. I’d like to think that comfort food is an essential spice of life that goes great with whatever suits your mood.
The hidden pleasures of Noodle Kugel
Did you know that Kugel was originally more like a pudding that originated in Germany in the 12 century? Well, it’s not exclusively German and is actually a Jewish dish that started out being quite a savory tasting dish. Over the years, it slowly started to get sweeter and more like the dessert varieties that you see these days. In fact, several recipes include versions made from potato, noodle, and even matzo.
And though the earliest recipes were more bread-like and had various ingredients including onions to create a casserole-like flavor. Ironically, the name Kugel is an old German-Yiddish word that translates to ball or globe. This is because the very first Kugels were baked in a round pan and puffed up after they were baked. Even though the recipe has changed over the last 800 years, the name somehow stuck.
I’m willing to bet that every Jewish family has its own signature recipe that is completely different than the next. This is one amazing point of Kugel that should be known to anyone who isn’t celebrating the Rosh Hashanah. I have many friends who all claim that their Nana has the best recipe that adds a secret ingredient. I’d like to think this ingredient is a dash of love mixed into every batch with loads of care making this treat into real comfort food.
These days, the typical Kugel is baked in a rectangular pan and has a delightfully crunchy crust with a custard-like center. Well depending on how much cottage cheese and crushed fruit you add, this will certainly help keep your Kugel decidedly moist. I’m no expert on which Kugel recipe is the best but I admit I do have a sweet tooth for desserts. And when you want to enjoy a little slice of comfort, certainly, a hunk of Kugel will hit the spot!
What makes Noodle Kugel so different?
Since many different recipes are floating around, I have a preference for the noodle version that uses egg noodles. After your noodles are cooked to perfection, the addition of butter turns them into pure gold. Admittedly, adding sweeter ingredients along the way makes this dish irresistible. One of my friends likes to add coarsely-crushed frosted flakes on top, but I’m cautious about including too much additional sugar, so I stick with cornflakes.
After all is said and done, you have a crust that’s just as sweet with little dabs of butter, sugar and cinnamon. If it wasn’t for being so careful about added calories, I would enjoy this more often. But when you’re in the mood for feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside, you can’t go wrong with serving this to your family on those not-so-great days where you need a little comfort to stick to your ribs.
Easy Noodle Kugel | The Ultimate Comfort Food
It should come as no surprise to anyone that I absolutely love comfort food. And, I couldn’t be more delighted about the wave of new restaurants specializing in comfort foods. Seriously. It’s all over the place. You can probably open up one of your fancy food magazines right now and find a hearty comfort food recipe for meatballs or macaroni and cheese. Does anyone tire of it? I don’t. This is the stuff on which I was raised. It is the food that makes you feel warm inside when it’s dead winter or you’re having a miserable day. Of course, comfort food is also the stuff primarily responsible for the large amount of meat on my bones throughout my childhood years. Yes. It’s a fabulous thing.
It’s become apparent to me recently, however, there is a glaring absence on many comfort food restaurant menus. While I wholeheartedly agree tuna melts and meatloaf sandwiches are wonderfully delicious, I’ll take a toasty chunk of noodle kugel over them any day of the week.
Have you had noodle kugel? If you’re Jewish, I’m willing to bet it’s a staple at your family gatherings. If you’re not Jewish, bear with me for a moment. Kugel sounds a bit strange and possibly off-putting if you are unfamiliar with it. While many of you might enjoy indulging in breakfast for dinner on occasion, it’s entirely another thing to mix elements of both in one meal. However, I assure you kugel is a miraculous food. The comforting egg pasta mixes perfectly with the sweet pineapple and the rich cheeses. It’s like macaroni and cheese and blintzes all mixed up together in one bite. In short, it’s heaven.
It’s also the perfect food to bring over to a sick friend or, in this case, to a family with a newborn baby. I know I was very thankful for all the lovely meals people made for us after Maeve was born. So, today, I carry on the tradition in true comfort food style. And, although I’m not Jewish, I do believe a Jewish grandmother inhabits my body from time to time. I welcome her with open arms just as I welcome another Baby M into this world. I’m quite certain Baby M will appreciate the warmth of a good noodle kugel. I can see it in her sparkly baby eyes.
I encourage you to try out this kugel recipe for your own purposes. It will surely bring you comfort no matter the situation. Of course, let me know what you think. I don’t need much encouragement. I plan to be the first to launch the campaign urging restaurant owners to include kugel on their daily menus.
- ceramic baking dish
- warm pot
- 1 Pound dried wide egg noodles
- 1/2 Stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 Cup lowfat milk
- 5 Large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 (1-pound) Container sour cream
- 1 (1-pound) Container small curd cottage cheese (4% fat)
- 1 (20-ounce) Can crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 Cups Cornflakes, coarsely crushed
- 2 Heaping Teaspoons Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Cook noodles in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well in a colander, then return to warm pot and add butter, tossing until noodles are coated.
- Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until combined, then whisk in sour cream. Stir in cottage cheese and pineapple and add to noodles, stirring to coat well, then spoon into baking dish.
- Make topping and bake kugel:
- Stir together cornflakes, sugar, and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over noodles. Dot with butter and bake until kugel is set and edges are golden brown, about 1 hour. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.