Caramelized Onion Kugel
Growing up, one of my favorite holiday dishes was my great-grandmother's noodle kugel. Kugel is one of those things that has a wide variety of meanings - it roughly translates as pudding or casserole. In my family's case, noodle kugel was a sweet baked dish composed of egg noodles loaded with cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, and pineapples. It is one of the family recipes that I got from my grandfather, though I know that the version that he gave me was changed a bit. Like me, he was a tinkerer with food.
That was years ago... and, to be fair, one of the first things I did with the recipe he gave me was make notes about how to change it. I'm like that.
Not too long ago, I started thinking about kugel after talking to my brother about traditional Jewish foods. I came back to the family recipe. At the time, the idea of something quite that sweet was unappealing. I decided that it needed to be toned down... and maybe have some contrast added to it.
The pineapple got replaced with some chopped apples. Most of the sugar got tossed out. Sweet cheeses got replaced, in part, with cheese that had a bit more bite. Caramelized onions got added.
Here's what I came up with:
- 16oz wide egg noodles
- 4 eggs
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 Tb brown sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 apple (peeled and diced)
- 4 cups loosely packed caramelized onions
- 1/2 cup Gorgonzola
- 1/2 cup gruyere (diced)
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Cook noodles until al dente.
- Melt butter.
- caramelize onions.
- Add apples to onions.
- Blend eggs, cream cheese, sour cream, brown sugar, and salt until smooth.
- Stir in noodles, 2/3 of onion/apple mixture, gorgonzola, and diced gruyere.
- Pour mixture into greased pyrex dish.
- Top with a remaining onion/apple mix.
- Bake at 350º for about 1 hour.
Those at least were my notes. I made this for the first time at Thanksgiving. I can't guarantee that I followed them exactly. I don't even have respect for my own recipes.
In any case, the kugel went over extremely well at Thanksgiving. It was definitely one of the stand-outs.