11/28/2012 08:38 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Nana's Kugel

This Thanksgiving I had two daughters tell me I was remiss in not having Nana's Kugel recipe on my blog for them to find and look up to make. I haven't posted it yet, even though it was in my first book, Maria Rodale's Organic Gardening, which is available used on for as low as a penny (makes a great gift! Lots of pretty pictures, and not available on the Kindle, either). Nana was quite a character. For the full story on her, you'll have to read the book!

Nana's Kugel is a tradition in our family. It's a savory, not sweet, kugel, with roots in her Lithuanian heritage. No matter who makes it or how, it never tastes the same or looks the same, but somehow, it has the essence of Nana's kitchen and our childhood in every bite. Sometimes we use a grater and the pieces are big. Sometimes I just put it all in the blender and it comes out more like a pudding. Some of my sisters try to make it low in fat. I always try to make it high in fat. You can make it vegetarian, but I think it's best with real chicken broth--homemade broth is best so you can get some of the chicken fat into the mix. I also prefer it thinner, rather than thicker, so that there's more crust on top and bottom than fluff in the middle. But the great thing about this recipe is that it's hard to screw it up and easy to personalize.

Nana's Kugel

Serves 4

  • 5 medium to large potatoes
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small to medium onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 turnip (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the potatoes and soak them in cold water while you clean the other vegetables.
  3. Either grate all the vegetables (including potatoes) or put them in a food processor or mixer. You can add the broth at this point, too.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix in the eggs, salt, and all the olive oil/butter except enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. Oil the bottom of the pan, and add the mixture.
Put pan in the oven, lower the heat to 375, and cook for about an hour, or until the top is golden brown and it just looks done.


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