Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wild Mushroom Potato Kugel

Wild Mushroom Potato Kugel
From The Gefilte Variations

Hands on time: 20-30 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Rest time: 10 minutes

Serves 8-10

1oz/28g dried wild mushrooms
4 tbsp olive oil plus enough to grease the pan
12oz/340g onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp garlic, chopped
6-8 medium russet (baking potatoes) peeled
4 large eggs, beaten
Excellent quality extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the kugel
Sweet Hungarian paprika to sprinkle over kugel

1. Soak the dried mushrooms in 2 cups of very hot water for 1 hour or until soft. Drain the mushrooms through a sieve and reserve the soaking liquid. Drain the soaking liquid through a strainer lined with paper towels or coffee filter paper. Rinse the mushrooms under cool water, squeeze dry and coarsely chop.

2. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until crisp and golden (about 15 minutes….don’t rush this step…the caramelizing of the onions makes them sweet). Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

3. In the same pan (no need to wash) add the chopped mushrooms, garlic and reserved soaking liquid. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally until all the liquid evaporates and remove from heat.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease a 13” x 9” large oven proof lasagna dish, (the book recommends enameled cast iron or metal not glass) with olive oil and place in the oven. This makes for a crispy crust when you finally add the potato mixture.

5. Grate potatoes in a food processor or large holes of a hand grater (I always take the easy way). Transfer to large bowl of cold water through this process to keep the potatoes from turning grey. Change the water once and then drain the potatoes. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Dry the bowl and then return the potatoes adding the eggs, fried onions and more salt & pepper.

6. Remove the hot pan from the oven and pour out any extra oil into the potato mixture. Pour half the potatoes into the pan, spread the mushroom mixture evenly over top and then cover with the rest of the potatoes, adding any of the liquid.

7. Drizzle with a little good quality olive oil and sprinkle with some sweet paprika.

8. Bake for about 1 hour or so until golden Remove from the oven and let it stand for 10-15 minutes.

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