Savory Kugel

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One of the last things standing between an empty kitchen and an empty stomach is kugel. Made from the doldrums of your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets (noodles, eggs and butter), Josh Ozersky demonstrates his family recipe for a savory kugel perfect for Hanukkah or as a last-minute meal.

Video Transcript

Hi I'm Josh Ozersky and I'm here on eHow.com to make a noodle kugel. Essentially it's a cake of buttery noodles with pepper and salt. Now there's another version of it called a luxion kugel that's sweet and has got like farmer cheese and raisins or whatever, I'm not making that and there's an even a kind of gussied up version of this that has sweet translucent onions in it. I'm not making that either. This is a late night type of a dish. You make it when there's like literally nothing in the house but a bag of noodles and butter and there's always salt and pepper presumably. So, the one thing you do need, however, is eggs and happily you can always get those at the bodega, so this involves a lot of eggs. So many in fact, look at that, oh my God, this is a freak, look it had two Siamese twin little eggs inside of it. How often do you see a thing like that? That means this is going to be a good luck kugel. I sometimes think of this as a regime that renews me. You could kind of call it kugeling exercises or whatever, you know. Anyway that's four, this will be five, doing it with one hand and he other with the other hand. So I beat these up and I have some butter melted over here and I put a little bit of the butter in the pan and then maybe I put even more of the butter in the pan and then some of the butter in here with the eggs because butter and eggs go good together as everybody knows that ever made scrambled eggs. So I have noodles here that have been boiling in salted water. The thing with these noodles is like you know how when you make real noodles like spaghetti or whatever and they're like, make sure they're carefully Al Dente and like toothsome to the touch, like that's not these kind of noodles. These kind of noodles are meant to be mushy. You're going to make a firm they are, the more give back, the more toothsome, the less yielding they are, the worse they're going to be. Alright so to continue with our kugeling exercise, you'll see that this pot is the result of my willful disregard of all pasta instructions. Every bag of noodles you ever bought said that they should have like a whole huge bath of 15 gallons of water in it. I don't believe in that. I like it to have just a little bit of water because then this happens and the water becomes gluey. Alright so you take a little bit of the water like so and that water is basically like super glue protein, it's almost like a meat glue, like a transglutimate or whatever. These are mushy noodles. I'm going to dump them in there. I reserved some hot water. I'll tell you what I'm not going to do, I'm not going to wash the noodles. Never wash any noodles ever. The noodles are going to be thirsty. They are going to be taken out of their only element that they've ever known and they're going to be thirsting to bring in fluid and the fluid that it's going to bring in is going to be pasta water and eggs mixed in together to bind them up, also some butter. So, the truth of the matter is, I really don't need to reserve the pasta water. I mean that's an emergency measure. When I dump it in right out of the colander, I barely let the colander have a chance to strain it out. So this is going to sort of mix up and now you know the main flavor of this is salt and pepper so you have a very generous helping of salt and a very generous helping of pepper and believe me more is going on before we're done. Is there anything that is better than a noodle and an egg and a salt and a pepper? Look at that all binding together like that. This is like emulsifying together you know? Now here's the magic part. So you remember I put butter into this here before and I'm going to smear it all along the sides. I don't want any part of this pot to not have butter on the side of it. I'll mix it in with the noodles and have the noodles and the butter and the egg all emulsified together along with a little bit more salt and some more pepper. This is, by the way, this is what they call a rubirosa, a rubirosa style pepper mill. I leave it to you to google that to figure out why they call it that. Alright, so, the noodles come over here. I move this inconvenient olive oil out of the way. I'm going to put these in here. Now it may look like there's more noodles than this little pot can take, you see how the eggs began to kind of coagulate? Oh this is so good, my grandmother used to make this from a, well she didn't make it for me. I just thought of it as mine. It was actually for the whole family but they would end up getting a third of it. Alright, so this goes in. Alright so we just jam that down, jam it, jam it, jam it. Alright, then, you wipe your hands, you give a little more salt on the top. If you want you can really go crazy, you can put on some bread crumbs, some more black pepper and then as a little finishing move to continue our mortal combat theme, let me put some more butter on top here. This is really where it would come in good to have like I guess, really not bread crumbs but like Matzo meal. Like if you wanted to sprinkle some Matzo meal or some herbs or whatever. Alright, this is going to go into the oven. I'm going to put it in a 350 oven for about 40 minutes. So here's my kugel. It's done. I cooked it in the oven. I gave it a little broil on top, make it a little crunchier. It's been sitting out. Now I'm going to cut myself a slice because after all I cooked it, I should be able to eat it. There it is. That is my kugel, noodles, butter, eggs, salt and pepper. I'm Josh Ozersky, and this is eHow.com.

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