Photo by Judith Hausman
This kugel could easily be served as a vegetarian main dish.
We’re there, gang. We’re in the time of year when the doldrums start, the root vegetables are shriveled or used up and the spring greens haven’t yet started. Yes, the mild winter means we’ll get a jump on salad this year (and the broccoli rabe seedlings are already a 1/2-inch tall), but it’ll still be a few weeks.
So, I raided the vegetable drawer this week and produced a vaguely German/Eastern European vegetable dish similar to noodle kugel, the rich dairy and noodle casserole of Jewish cuisine. A kugel is often sweetened and studded with apples and raisins, but it can be savory as well, as this one was. In a kosher household, it couldn’t be served as a side to meat, but it made a great accompaniment to a simply broiled venison steak at my house. This kugel could also easily be served as a vegetarian main dish.
I used only a touch of dairy to enrich the sautéed vegetables, so it was not the deep, egg-y pudding of a true kugel. I actually liked the firmer texture of this mix better. To achieve it, make sure you don’t overcook the cabbage or carrots so the vegetables stay toothsome, even crunchy. Dill is a good seasoning for it, and I added some caraway as well. Interpret the proportions liberally, and adjust according to what you have.
Recipe: Egg Noodles With (the Last of the Local) Winter Vegetables
Serves six to eight as a side dish
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 pound thin egg noodles
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 4-5 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound white or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 apple, cored and sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound farmers cheese or cream cheese or 1 cup sour cream
In a large pan, sauté the sliced onion in butter until soft but not browned. Meanwhile, heat water to boil the noodles. Add the carrots and cabbage, then cover. Cook until soft but not mushy. Add the mushrooms, apple, herbs and seasoning. Cover and cook for 10 minutes while the egg noodles cook until firm. Drain the noodles and stir in farmers cheese and vegetables, mixing well.
If you’d like, you can also spill this into a greased casserole, top it with breadcrumbs and a little butter, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes.