Potato, Spinach, and Caramelized Onion Kugel
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
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
- Preheat the oven to 385°F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.