Rx Recipes: Kugel
A dish passed down through generations, courtesy of Brendan Collins, PharmD candidate ’23
Recipe by Brendan Collins | Published December 13, 2022
Our Rx Recipes series explores recipes provided by faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. With Hanukkah right around the corner, it’s a great time to try this delicious sweet Kugel recipe from Brendan Collins, PharmD candidate ’23.
What you’ll need:
A large mixing bowl
A 9″ x 13″ pan
1 lb cooked egg noodles
1 cup sugar
1 lb small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 large container of sour cream
Cinnamon for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Combine all ingredients (except cinnamon) in a large bowl
- Pour ingredients into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan
- Sprinkle with cinnamon
- Bake at 350 F for 1 hour
Brendan, who is originally from Massachusetts, grew up with a Jewish mother and a Catholic father. “I was not raised Jewish in a spiritual sense, but would still describe myself as Jewish in a cultural sense,” Brendan says. “My mother made sure that my brother and I were exposed to some aspects of our people’s culture. This included getting gifts for Hannukah (two gift-receiving holidays in December made all our classmates jealous), performing a Seder on Passover, and enjoying other parts of Jewish culture, such as the food.”
This Kugel dish is one that Brendan’s mother made regularly, passed down to her from Brendan’s great-grandmother. Originally invented by Ashkenazi Jews, kugel is actually several hundred years old. The name kugel is Yiddish from the German word for ‘sphere’, and derives from the name of the round clay pot that was used for cooking it at the time, kugeltopf. Because of its long history, there are many varieties of kugel that have emerged throughout the years. Probably the most common variety of kugel that you would encounter is made from egg noodles. This type is colloquially known as noodle pudding. Besides noodles, kugel can be made from potato, or some people even use matzah to make it for Passover.
Kugel is often a sweet dish, which makes it fairly unique for Western cuisine as it is served during dinner, not as a dessert. Depending on the chef, they may customize their sweet kugel with different fruits as well. But kugel is so diverse that there exists savory varieties too. Different families all have different recipes and there is really no right or wrong version, because in the end you get to enjoy some classic Jewish soul food!