Posted by: Rachel | January 15, 2012

oodles of noodles

Well the weather outside is far from frightful, but sometimes you just have to give in to your taste buds. This is really serious “cold weather” food, and, while the calendar says it is winter, we are having what I call “”why I live in Texas” weather”. Sunny, high 60s (that translates to 19 or so for some of you). I’m happy!

Still I woke up this morning craving not just noodles but specifically noodle kugel. If you know this dish, then for you perhaps it is also the ultimate comfort food, creamy and crunchy, sweet and rich, completely satisfying, and if you don’t know it, well, walk with me…

Kugel can be made with potatoes or rice, but noodle kugel makes my heart sing. Actually, it can be a heart attack on a plate so moderation in consumption is advisable, but oh it is good! I don’t (dare) make it often but usually once a year, during the “cold dark days” of a Texas winter I find myself dreaming about it and I give in.

It is easy. Easy to make and easy to eat, and the house smells wonderful for hours. And, since you know I can never actually leave well enough alone, I reworked my recipe a bit this time and I think (she said modestly) it turned out even better than usual. Mmmmmm…

The only problem (really? problem? hmmm…) is that you almost have to make enough for a small army. I don’t think it will freeze, but somehow it always disappears before it can spoil, so I guess it isn’t a problem after all.

There is a debate in some circles as to whether this is a side dish, a main course, or actually a dessert. I refuse to be drawn into this conversation, just put some on a plate and give me a fork please!

The only bit of advice I will offer, should you decide to try this, is honestly, butter that casserole well or your clean up will take far longer that the “making” time. Other than that, no worries!

That’s a lot of fanfare and build-up for what is really almost peasant food, so without further ado I offer you:

Oodles of Noodles Kugel

1 pound dried wide egg noodles
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup milk (not skim!)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cardamon
1 cup sour cream
2-1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped
1/2 cup dried pineapple diced
1/2 cup Zante currents or just raisins
zest of one lemon, very finely chopped

the custardy part

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 barely al dente. They will finish in the oven. Drain the noodles well, then put them back into the now empty but still warm pot and add the butter, tossing until the noodles are coated.

ready for the oven

just another hour...

Whisk together all the other ingredients until well combined. Stir in cottage cheese last so it doesn’t get too mushed up.

Add this “custard” to the noodles, stirring to coat well, then carefully pour the entire mess into the (well-buttered, right?) baking dish.

finally! a nice serving.

now where's that fork?

Bake until kugel is set and edges are golden brown, about 1 hour.
Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

The top will be crunchy, the inside will be moist, dense, somewhat chewy, sweet with little pops of flavor from the candied ginger… oh I wish you were here to share it!

This is actually a much lower fat recipe than the original. Half the butter and half the sour cream… and still it is decadent and delicious. I personally think it makes a fine breakfast, just add a cup of coffee on the side and mmmmm!!!

Let us know if you try it, and what you think, OK? Enjoy!

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Responses

  1. Oh MY G- OODness! I have just found my LOVE food! I have never even encountered this dish before and as soon as i lose the christmas pounds i will be back.. this looks GOOD! c

    • Be sure to let us know what you think when you do try it… I hope you like it! (I bet you will… (grin))

  2. I haven’t had kugal before. I’ll have to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I make kugel often throughout the year – it is a staple in our house. We have found that it freezes very nicely.. IF you cut it up into squares, like large brownie squares. Wrap each square in plastic wrap, then put all of the wrapped squares together into one big zip lock bag. That is how we store them in our freezer. Whenever one of us wants a piece, we just unwrap a square and zap it in the microwave. And voila! It tastes fresh and perfect every time.

    • Good to know, thanks!! I thought that, because of the eggs and milk it might “weep” when thawed. Do you reheat it in the microwave or in a proper oven?

  4. Wow – had never heard of this and it does look and sound amazing with all those spices. Like you I´d have it for breakfast otherwise tea or dessert…ok, any time!

  5. I love kugel. The last time ate it was some from Whole Foods Deli. Really, yours sounds better.

    • Whole Foods? I had no idea… I wonder if they put pineapple and crystallized ginger in theirs (I bet not!) grin…

  6. Wow, this turned out just beautifully.

    • Thanks – it looks almost like the Wikipedia picture, don’t you think? (heeheehee… but its mine, all miiiiine…) Wish you could smell it! Mmmm!

  7. Rachel, this does sound devine, but what do you think about substituting some other fruit for the crushed pineapple? Pas de diference? Je n’aime pas l’ananas.

    • Bien sur, tu peut faire ce que tu veut… or just leave the pineapple out and go with currants and the crystallized ginger… “Traditional” kugel usually only has currants anyway. Donc…

  8. Hi Rachel. Yes, we take the squares right from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap, and zap them at a low to medium power in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes, depending on your microwave. We have learned to place the squares on a microwavable plate or paper plate and put a paper towel over the top of the kugel because, as the moisture returns with the thawing, the condensation can accrue or splatter slightly. It is great to be able to freeze the kugel, since it is made in huge lasagne-size pans.

    • Good enough! Thanks… too bad I don’t have any left to freeze… Mmmm!!


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