Each year during Hanukkah our friend Josh comes for dinner and fry latkes. A few years ago, Josh brought Erica with him. This year, he and Erica brought their tiny, cute baby. In the name of family sanity, we decided ahead of times to forego the latke-frying this one year and buy them already prepared at Whole Foods. Then, I just had to heat them in the oven on cookie sheets for a few minutes.
I don’t consider Hanukkah to have a traditional set menu the way Thanksgiving or even Passover can, but I do have an idea of a traditional winter Jewish meal and it has two key point: slow-cooked beef and a kugel. Since I was going to be gone almost the whole day, I opted for a very easy slow-cooked beef stew (yes, again from “America’s Test Kitchen” and again a home run). This recipe taught me about the joy of using frozen chopped opinion for soups and stews. Why have I not know about this before? I should have bought 40 bags, in case I never find them again. I also bought rice that steams in the bag in the microwave. This shortcut seems a little less Whole Foods-sanctioned, and I will try to use it sparingly, but it worked out great last night. Then, I roasted asparagus right before serving dinner.
The kugel recipe was a on scrap of paper stuck in another cookbook (“Lowfat Jewish Cooking” if you can believe it). It credits the Hadassah Sisterhood cookbook of Valdosta, GA. I don’t know where or when I found this gem, but I’d bet it was at least a dozen years ago. Everyone loved this peach kugel. What’s not to love? I made it the night before and it reheated extremely well.
Peach Noodle Kugel
Great for: Pot luck dinners, a meal with company, comfort food, brunch
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Cool: 30 minutes
8-12 oz medium egg noodles (I used 12, recipe called for 8)
3T butter, plus additional for baking dish
½ C sugar
2C milk, preferably whole
½ C seedless raisins
16-oz can sliced cling peaches, drained, or 2 fresh peaches sliced ¼-inch thick
¼ C bread crumbs
½ t ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 and lightly coat 13/9/2 baking dish with butter.
Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Add butter and toss until melted and noodles are coated. Set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until combined. Whisking constantly, slowly pour milk in steady stream. Add raisins. Pour egg mixture over noodles and toss to coat. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Cover and bake 30 minutes.
Prepare Streusel: In a small saucepan on medium-low heat, melt butter. Add bread crumbs and cinnamon and stir until coated. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove kugel from oven and arrange peach slices in rows on the surface and sprinkle evenly with streusel topping. Return kugel to oven, uncovered, and bake about 15 minutes or until kugel is lightly browned and custard sets. Transfer dish to wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Do ahead: you can cool, cover and refrigerate the kugel, then heat it for 30 minutes at 300 degrees, covered.