Potato, Spinach, and Caramelized Onion Kugel

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  25 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour 25 minutes

Potato, Spinach, and Caramelized Onion Kugel

This kugel exemplifies savory, flavor-packed vegetarian food. Great with a warm winter bean soup, it also pairs well with a simple roast chicken or a cheesy winter salad.


¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or rendered chicken or duck fat

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

6 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1 pound baby spinach leaves, lacinato kale, or Swiss chard leaves

2¼ pounds russet potatoes, peeled

1 small onion, grated, soaked in cold water and drained

3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated, any green centers removed

½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

½ teaspoon minced fresh sage

8 large eggs

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 385°F.
  2. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large saucepan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and shallots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent and browned at the edges. Add 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and the white pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3­5 minutes, until translucent, golden brown, and caramelized. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl, reserving the pan and any oil and browned bits that remain.
  3. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Using the same pan you used for the onions, heat the spinach over medium heat and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until wilted. Transfer to the prepared fine-mesh strainer. With the back of a spoon, gently push out the excess liquid. Coarsely chop the spinach. There should be about 1½ cups.
  4. Finely grate the potatoes. Place in a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl, transfer the grated potatoes into it and squeeze gently or use the back of a spoon to push out excess liquid. The excess liquid and potato starch will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Pour off the excess liquid and save the starch.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the caramelized onions and shallots, spinach, potatoes, grated onion, grated garlic, thyme, sage, eggs, 1 tablespoon of the reserved potato starch, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper. Mix well.
  6. Coat a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the kugel mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, uncovered, until a skewer poked into the center of the dish comes out with just a few sticky bits. Serve immediately. The kugel will be puffy when removed from the oven and will deflate with time.

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