I was fortunate enough to grow up in New York City surrounded by neighbors of different
religions and nationalities. Just off the corner of 43rd Street and Second Avenue was a Jewish
deli and from there we bought the best rye bread and bagels. A few houses down from where I
lived on 43rd Street was a Jewish family and from them I adopted the following recipe. I had
totally forgotten about it until I started scouring through boxes uncovering more recipes for my
second cookbook Basta Pasta Ancora, and there it was sitting at the bottom of a pile. The recipe
was probably given to my Nonna and how I ended up with it I really don’t know. But I’ve
always been a hoarder of recipes.
When I discovered it, it was like finding a lost gem because it brought back lots of memories of
the quiet family who owned the deli that we referred to as Meyer’s Deli and the family who
lived just a few houses down from us. I seem to recall that they had a monkey. I was quite
young when they moved away. I think the building was bought along with the hospital to
make way for the Ford Foundation building. But I remember sitting on the stoop with their
daughter after we had roller skated in the street for a while, and her mother bringing out a
freshly baked cookie. Amazing what one little piece of paper can do.
With Hanukkah starting on December 22nd, I though you might enjoy having this recipe.
And I might include it in our Christmas menu this year too. Who doesn’t like a good potato
Potato Kugel Bake
3 Lbs Potatoes – not Idaho
2 Eggs – beaten
1 Large Onion – grated
¼ Cup Peanut Oil
2 Tsps Salt – or to taste
5 Tbs Matzo Meal
Preheat oven to 350º and grease a 9” X 7” X 2” pan. Or you can use a round or square 8-inch
pan, if one is more available.
Grate the potatoes fairly fine in your processor or using a hand grater. Pour the grated potatoes
into a dish towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Grate the onion (I was informed
that if you are using a hand grater to grate the potatoes, you should grate the onion on the hand
Put the onion and potatoes in a large bowl and add the salt, beaten eggs, oil and mix well (I
can’t help myself and as a lover of garlic I add a little garlic powder here, too). Mix everything
well and then add the matzo meal to hold it all together. You have to use some judgement here
because you don’t want the mixture to be too wet or too dry. So, adjust the matzo meal as
necessary a little at a time until you are satisfied with the mixture.
Pout it all into the pan and bake for 55 – 60 minutes. Put the baked kugel under the broiler for a
few minutes just to crisp the top. Watch it carefully.
Enjoy and Happy Hanukkah.