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
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.
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.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!