Savory Cheese, Mushroom, and Onion Kugel
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
This kugel is quite different. When I came upon recipes from ethnic Serbians who used shredded filo in lieu of noodles in a Guzvara-style casserole, I couldn’t wait to try it in a savory cheesy kugel. This deeply satisfying and filling kugel is great with plenty of fresh peppery greens (such as arugula, watercress or dandelion greens) dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette and plenty of salty, vinegary pickles of every variety.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
1½ tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper, divided
2 pounds wild mushrooms, trimmed and brushed clean
1 pound Balkan-style farmer cheese or fresh mozzarella, shredded
1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
3 cups plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
Leaves of 1 small bunch thyme (see Kitchen Tips)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 pound box frozen filo dough, defrosted in the package
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a deep 9- by 13-inch baking dish or baking pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat, add the olive oil, tilt to coat, and heat just until it shimmers. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper, stir well and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.
- Combine the farmer cheese, feta, yogurt, eggs, thyme, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and stir until fully combined.
- Remove the filo from the package and place it on a work surface. Roll out and fold back into the rolled shape (it will naturally want to roll back—let it). Using a sharp, large knife, cut the layered dough sheets into ½-inch strips. Separate them and fold into the cheese and yogurt mixture, mixing until they are incorporated.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- To remove the leaves from a sprig of fresh thyme, hold the sprig (or a few) at the top with one hand, and with the other hand, grasp the stem with your thumb and forefinger and gently slide your fingers down the stem. The leaves will be pushed against the direction they grow in, and will come off easily.