Potato kugel

December 22, 2008
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Serves 12

Arthur Schwartz writes that the secret to light potato kugel (a pudding that's cut into squares and served beside meat) is lots of eggs. He also likes russet potatoes, which make a fluffier kugel than the potatoes available in his grandmother's era.

3 pounds russet (baking) potatoes
12 eggs
2 medium onions, cut into chunks
2/3 cup matzo meal
3 tablespoons peanut, corn, or canola oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Transfer to a bowl of cold water (don't leave them there for longer than 2 hours).

3. In a very large bowl, beat the eggs until well mixed.

4. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the onions until finely chopped but not liquefied. Scrape the onions into the bowl of eggs. Stir in the matzo meal. (Do not rinse the food processor.)

5. Drain the potatoes. Set a strainer over a bowl.

6. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into the baking dish, tipping it to coat the bottom and halfway up the sides. Set the pan in the oven for 5 minutes.

7. In the food processor, work the potatoes in 3 batches until very finely chopped. The pieces should be no larger than a grain of rice and mostly smaller. As each batch is processed, immediately scrape it into the strainer. With the back of a spoon, press the mixture to extract the moisture. Immediately stir the potatoes from the strainer into the egg mixture. Discard the liquid in the bowl. Add salt and pepper to the potato mixture.

8. Carefully remove the empty baking dish from the oven. Add the potato mixture. It's OK if the oil spills onto the surface of the batter (this adds crispness to the finished dish). Press the batter down neatly into the corners. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

9. Bake the kugel for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve hot or warm. Adapted from "Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking"

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