A Recipe for Great Kugel (Kugle): Potato Cheese Casserole
I'm not sure if there's a traditional kugle recipe or if this recipe is even a kugle at all. What I do know is that a friend taught me how to make it, I loved it, and I've been making it ever since. It's a great dish to make because it can last a single person an entire week. Even better, this recipe actually tastes better after it's been refrigerated and reheated. It's both healthy and delicious (though I'm going to amend my "healthy" qualification by noting that if you add as much cheese as I do, you might be clogging your arteries). Enjoy.
- Cheddar Cheese
- Black pepper (optional)
- Bread crumbs (optional)
- Sesame Seeds (optional)
- Sunflower Seeds (optional)
- Asiago cheese (optional)
You'll notice that in the ingredients list I didn't list any amounts. That's because this kugle recipe is incredibly flexible. You can vary the amounts based on whatever ingredient you prefer. However, if you're not a person who guesses at amounts very well, I'll estimate based on using a large baking dish.
Potatoes (4-5 large), Onions (1 large white onion), Carrots (5-8 regular carrots), Garlic (1-3 cloves), Cheese (8-16 ounces), Milk (1 quart)
Using a food processor, grate the potatoes. You'll need enough potatoes to coat the bottom of the baking dish and then add another layer on top. The bottom of the dish should be fairly thickly coated.
Once you've put in the layer of potatoes, add the seasonings you prefer so that they rise up through the rest of the ingredients. I add black pepper, garlic, sesame seeds, and the layer of onions. After the layer of onions, you can then put in a layer of cheese followed by a layer of bread crumbs. At this point, you may already be to the top of your baking dish, so you may have to press down with your hands to condense everything. After the bread crumbs, put in the layer of carrots. The layer of carrots should be fairly thick as they provide a lot of the recipe's flavor. Follow that by another layer of cheese and finally the potatoes on top.
Once you have everything layered (and you can generally layer in any order you want as long as the potatoes are on the top at the end), add enough milk so that your baking dish is about half full.
Cover the entire baking dish in foil and poke some holes in the foil to let the steam out. Once the milk begins to boil, it's going to need an escape or it's going to come out the sides. Overflow is a possibility anyway, so you might want to put foil underneath to catch any drips.
Preheat your oven to 425 and bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the milk is no longer visibly bubbling. Pull out the kugle, let it cool down to an edible temperature, and enjoy.
I love sunflower seeds in the dish in place of or in addition to the sesame seeds.
You'll need enough cheese to bind all the ingredients and, if you want, you can actually just mix the ingredients together so that everything adheres nicely.
You can put a layer of bread crumbs over the potatoes at the very top for a more pleasing aesthetic.
I often have a hard time determining when the dish is done, so generally I'm always tasting it at the 1 hour and 15 minute mark just to make sure.
Amazingly, I always think this dish is better once it's been refrigerated and reheated.
In the picture of the finished product, I put some Asiago cheese on there. I love Asiago cheese and think it makes almost anything taste better.
If the potatoes are the top layer (sometimes I have cheese as the top layer) you do not need the foil. However, the foil does keep the moisture in and the kugle seems to cook faster. If cheese is your top layer and you use foil, you'll need to oil the foil to keep it from sticking.
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