There are tons of different types of noodle kugels, all pretty much stemming from the same roots: egg noodles, butter, and eggs. The variations come in when special kugel-defining ingredients of choice are added - apples, cheese, raisins, and carrots, to name a few. There are sweet and savory kugels, kugels rich with sour cream and cream cheese, fruit kugels, vegetable kugels, kugels with wide noodles, and kugels with thin noodles. Once in a while you'll run across a kugel with some nutrition goin' on, but typically the only real health benefit of noodle kugel is that it warms the heart.
Everyone who grew up on kugel loves their momma's kugel the best, of course. No matter how similar the ingredient list, no two mommas' kugels are exactly alike. They're like snowflakes. Snowflakes made with a lot of butter.
Because I love my momma's kugel the best, my favorite one to make is the onion version that she's been making for years and years. Preparing this kugel is a soothing, well-worn task for me. And the minute I start to smell the onions cooking in butter, I'm suddenly transported to her kitchen. It's a beautiful thing.
This recipe makes a 9x11 baking dish of kugel. This is typically the amount that I make, but it can easily be made smaller or larger.
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 3/4 cup butter
- 4 1/2 eggs, beaten
- 9 cups cooked wide egg noodles
Making the Kugel:
- Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat over a medium-low flame. Add the diced onions and cook in the butter until browned, about ten minutes. Stir occasionally. Cool the onions and butter mixture for about fifteen minutes. Place in the fridge for quicker cooling. The reason for this step is to prevent the butter from cooking the eggs when all of the ingredients are combined.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the butter has cooled, remove some with a tablespoon, and coat the bottom and the sides of the baking dish. After the baking dish is coated, place the butter and onion mixture in a large bowl, along with the cooked noodles and eggs. Stir everything together until all of the noodles are coated evenly with the butter, onions, and eggs. Place in the oven for about forty minutes, until the top of the kugel is browned. Allow the kugel to cool briefly before slicing and serving. Voila!
On occasions when I've felt like bringing in some new flavor to this old recipe, I've added leeks and green onions. Which isn't deviating too much, but enough for a fresh twist. I like to up the amount of onions too at times for an extra punch of flavor, and for an attempt at squeezing some nutritional value out of this dish. I've also tried this recipe using less butter, and that works fine too. The basic idea is to have enough eggs to bind the ingredients and enough butter to give some glisten and richness.
Making and eating this kugel magically brings forth a Jewish momma, sitting there in the kitchen with you, nodding approvingly every step of the way. Sometimes this is just what the doctor ordered!