Not quite like Mom used to make

I had a surfeit of potatoes post Thanksgiving and I got to thinking about what I could do with them. I got to thinking about potato kugel. For those unfamiliar, it’s not the most glamorous or complicated dish. It’s composed grated potato, onion, eggs, and usually something like chicken fat or oil. Then it’s all mixed together and baked. Mom used to serve it alongside this really awesome honey roasted chicken.

So I asked my mother if I could have the recipe and after some searching she produced for me “Spin Cookery” the Osterizer Blender Cook Book.  Below is my Osterizer–same kind Mom has. I purchased it used at an estate sale for $8 and it is a great blender.
Note the black electrical tape holding the book together.  This is the kind of cookbook that someone like James Lileks would happily tear to shreds.  There are recipes that make you go hmmm and recipes that frankly work just as well with a bowl and a whisk. But there are some things I remember quite fondly. The popover recipe for instance beats the one in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.

The kugel is pretty basic.

4 cups cubed potatoes (peeled)
3 eggs
1 large onion quartered
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chicken fat melted or butter
1/3 cup flour
6 sprigs parsley

Preheat oven to 350F.Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Blender grate potatoes. Drain well. Put remaining ingredients in blender and process only until parsley is chopped. Mix batter thoroughly with potatoes and pour into the casserole. Bake for 1 hour.

I opted for turkey fat because well I was dealing with the turkey carcass and stock. I used a glass pie plate because that’s what my mother would use. I also consulted her (and the internet) about this mysterious “blender grating.” I’m pretty sure I would have gotten a better kugel by using my box grater, but I wasn’t after better. I was after sense memory and Mom said she did blender grate.

Turns out my Osterizer has a “Grate” setting on it. You put the cubed potatoes in and 2 cups of cold water. Hit grate and in very very quickly you are left with these very fluffy bits of potato.

Potato KugelIt’s not quite right. I recall Mom’s being a denser and a little more colorful. I wonder if she added in some other vegetables. She’s famous for not telling me every little detail. Not out of malice, but because I think she’s made these things so many times that she does some things automatically without thinking about it.

But it was pretty close to what I remembered. It smelled right too.

Piece of casseroleThe taste was close. I wonder if Mom used something like vegetable oil or margarine in lieu of the prescribed chicken fat/butter.

I would like to find a more authentic kugel recipe (they seem to involve a LOT more eggs) and/or try this with box grated potatoes, but I wasn’t disappointed with this.  Now if I just had the honey roasted chicken to go with it.

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