In my family, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without one of our favorite dishes- homemade kugelis. Kugelis is a traditional Lithuanian dish made of grated potatoes, eggs, and bacon. It’s probably one of my favorite things to eat and once you look over the recipe you will see why- there’s nothing healthy about it! It’s truly Lithuanian comfort food! It can be a bit tedious to make but it is definitely worth the effort.
Just to note- the potatoes need to be grated. Most food processors just don’t cut it! The texture turns out pretty weird if it is not grated properly. When I was growing up we would use a hand grater and sit for hours grating potatoes for my grandmother. If you’re using a hand grater make sure that you use some vitamin C to keep the potatoes from turning brown. No one wants brown kugelis. Now I’m spoiled and, since I love making this dish, I invested in an electric potato grater. I can pretty well grate 5 pounds of potatoes in under 2 minutes. Gram would be jealous. Also, lots of versions of this recipe call for regular milk, but I grew up using carnation milk in our family recipe. Neither are wrong, but you can play with it and see which you prefer. I’ve heard that you can substitute 1 cup almond milk for the cows milk and it eliminates the dairy component, but I haven’t tried it myself. As for the egg component for you vegans- I tried using the substitutes and I just didn’t care for it as much. Sorry. I tried.
Kugelis is traditionally served with sour cream and/or applesauce so make sure you have some on hand. Some recipes you find will have you adding flour to the mixture but you can easily substitute potato or rice flour to make it gluten free. In this recipe I took one extra step and was able to skip the added flour all together. One of the pain in the butt steps of kugelis is straining the grated potatoes (please go get some cheesecloth and make your life easier). Once you have the excess liquid, aka potato juice, allow it to sit for a few minutes and drain off the liquid. There should be a nice thick white layer at the bottom of your dish- hello starch! Who needs extra flour? Not here! Just add that back into the recipe and tah-dah! Gluten free!
- 5 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds bacon, chopped into bite size pieces
- 6 eggs
- 5 oz carnation milk
- 1 medium onion, grated
- salt & pepper to taste
- Peel potatoes and place into cold water to keep from turning brown
- Chop bacon into small pieces and cook until brown throughout. Do not remove bacon from grease
- In a large bowl, beat 6 eggs
- Add 5 oz of carnation milk and mix well
- Grate onions and incorporate into egg and milk mixture
- Line a second large bowl with cheesecloth. Don’t do just one layer, I usually use double/triple layers to keep it all together.
- Using a hand grater, begin to grate potatoes. You may need to add crushed vitamin C to potatoes to keep from browning. If you’re using an electric grater, you can skip the vitamin C
- Squeeze potato mixture with the cheesecloth to drain liquid
- Add potatoes to egg mixture and and stir until well incorporated
- Allow liquid to rest (just a few minutes) and strain off the liquid, add the remaining starch back into the egg and potato mixture.
- Add bacon and ALL of the grease into the large pan and mix well. Yes. All. Of. The. Grease. I told you it wasn’t healthy
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray
- Pour mixture into dish
- Bake for 1 hour and 15minutes
Enjoy! (and please spend an extra few minutes in the gym after this one!)