Silly gadgets and Russian hash browns (kugelis)

*I am consolidating Russian Bites will Healthy and Sane. Russian Bites will stay alive as a (hopefully) great resource for Russian recipes so this post is reposted from Healthy and Sane to keep the database of recipes up-to-date. Thanks for being loyal readers!*

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So let’s get back to food, shall we? Actually I sort of wanted to talk about kitchen gadgets. Gimmicky kitchen gadgets. Do you own any? I’m talking about silly things like Slap Chops (I own one! It’s collecting dust.), avocado slicersmango splitters and the like. Basically anything that a good ol’ knife would do FASTER. And then there is a whole new level of ridiculousness with the likes of egg poacher + english muffin toaster combo, andmarinade express tabletop unit(it’s $300!!). The good news is that some gadgets are AWESOME… even if you can in fact use something simpler to get the job done.

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You are going to laugh at me but I love my strawberry stem remover. Yes, I can use a knife but it’s honestly so much fun using that little guy (and no, I will not be buying the strawberry slicerthat Amazon recommends with it… I do have my limits). And I recently purchased this cupcake corer. It looks gimmicky but I hate doing the job with a pairing knife. I’ll let you know how it goes. Smile

Why am I even talking about kitchen gadgets anyway? Because the shredder attachment to my food processor rocked my world the other day. I sort of want to shred every single food item in the house now just to watch this beast process it into perfect little strips. Three pounds of potatoes processed in less than 1 minute. Box graters are so last year! Winking smile

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The recipe I used my favorite new gadget for was for kugelis, which is a Lithuanian potato dish reminiscent of a large hash brown cake. It took a little work (I wish those potatoes peeled themselves!) but the end result was a beautiful potato bake with a golden crust on the outside and tender potato on the inside. Adam and I both enjoyed it for our “restaurant meal in” (our new thing since our going out budget is tighter… there are no tvs, no computers, just the two of us enjoying a more indulgent meal together – catching up on random stories from the week)… but this would be a great dish to serve for brunch as well. I hope you make it and let me know how it goes! Open-mouthed smile

Kugelis – serves 6-8 (recipe is largely based on the Please to the Table cookbook)

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs potatoes
  • 4 oz bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (if you want a richer dish, use all cream)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Russian-hash-browns-kugelis

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375*.

2. Fry bacon in an oven safe 10” skillet. Pour out most of the bacon grease, leaving enough to coat the pan. Blot bacon on paper towels then crumble.

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3. Peel potatoes, coarsely grate.

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This is where the food processor is your friend!

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4. Wash grated potatoes in several changes of cold water, then place in a kitchen towel to squeeze water out.

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Nice and dry! Smile Watery potatoes are no good.

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5. Combine potatoes, bacon, milk, cream, and eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Transfer back to the pan and dot with butter.

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6. Bake at 375* for about 1 hour, until the top is golden brown.

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Crusty on the inside…

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…soft and buttery on the inside:

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These potatoes were definitely the star of our steak dinner. I also used these Green Giant green beans for a super quick side veg (*Disclaimer: I received a coupon for a free Green Giant product through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program).

Quick steam:

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Then a 2 minute sautee with some EVOO and garlic.

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Perfect Smile

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What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?

Leave your comment here Smile

21 comments to Silly gadgets and Russian hash browns (kugelis)

  • Hello!

    Thanks for posting this recipe. The original, Lithuanian, recipe does not call for potatoes grated as coarsely as hash browns. Instead, we use a fine grater, or a potato-grating machine, to acquire a potato texture that is very creamy. The resulting Kugelis is pudding-like.

    The potato-grating machine is a gadget worth considering.

    This looks like a great recipe, but the end result is not a true Kugelis.

    I truly enjoy your blog; please keep posting the wonderful recipes, photos, and narrative.

  • Hello, Elina,

    I do! This is a recipe that was posted on Chicago Public TV’s website when a famous Lithuanian eatery, Healthy Food Restaurant, closed. This is my adaptation.

    Kugelis

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for greasing the pan)
    Nonstick Vegetable Cooking Spray (“Pam”)
    5 lb. Yukon Gold (yellow) or Idaho potatoes
    Citric acid or “Fruit Fresh,” as needed
    12 ounces bacon slices
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter (see instructions below)
    1 large yellow onion, peeled chopped fine
    1 cup half and half (or 1 cup canned, evaporated milk)
    1-1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 plus 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
    5 eggs
    Reserved potato starch from grating and draining the potatoes

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Adjust oven rack to center position. Butter a 9 by 13 glass baking dish generously with the 2 tablespoons butter. After buttering the pan, spray it with nonstick vegetable spray.

    Peel the potatoes, halve them, and place them in a bowl of ice water. You may add some citric acid to the water bath to keep the potatoes from turning brown. Set bowl of iced potatoes aside.

    Sauté bacon in a large sauteuse pan until well-cooked but almost crispy. Leave all of the bacon grease in the pan; do not drain. Add butter to the bacon grease and heat until the butter melts. (Here, some people add as much as 8 Tbsp. butter to the bacon grease before cooking the onions.)

    Sauté onions in the bacon grease until opaque, about 8 minutes; do not allow them to caramelize. Do not drain bacon grease. Add half and half to the onions and heat for 2 minutes, until boiling. Add salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Crush or crumble up the bacon and add to onion mixture. Keep mixture hot.

    Beat eggs together with a whisk in small bowl until very frothy.

    Grate potatoes in a potato grating machine (it’s easiest to put a cookie sheet under the machine to catch the grated potatoes. Potatoes will start oxidizing/turning brown. If you want to avoid this,then add some citric acid powder to the potatoes). After grating the potatoes, strain all the liquid from potatoes. Strain potatoes by squeezing them in a clean kitchen towel draped over a colander set over a bowl (reserve the drained juice to collect the potato starch). (Note: some cooks drain no liquid or as little as the liquid from about one-third to one-half of the potatoes.) Pour the drained potato juice from the large bowl. Collect the potato starch that accumulates at the bottom of the bowl.

    Transfer the strained, grated potatoes to a large bowl. Pour the boiling half and half/bacon/onion mixture over potatoes. Mix very well. Add beaten eggs; combine thoroughly. Mix well again. Add the collected potato starch to the grated potato mixture and mix once again. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet (to catch any leaks) and transfer to the center rack of the preheated oven.

    Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional one hour to one hour and 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot with sour cream.

  • Argh!! It’s the adaption a friend of mine gave to me and that I, then, tweaked.

    Here’s a touching video about the closing of “Healthy Food.” The footage includes a clip of how the restaurant’s cook prepared the Kugelis. It’s useful because you can see the texture:

    http://skyfullofbacon.com/blog/?p=371

  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE the grater and slicer attachment on my food processor. Between those and the dough blade it is in constant use. Even though I am a devotee of my cuisinart, I’m kind of obsessed with the new kitchenaid they are advertising where you can change the slicing from thick to thin.

  • Those hash-browns look fabulous! I love any potato dish. My favourite kitchen gadget is my Vita-Mix, but I really want a food processor.

  • it sure looks good. those hash browns looks superb. i must try that too.

  • This looks incredibly satisfying, in fact. Shredding drives me nuts too, as I am often about to shred my fingers as well–so I love that attachment as well. But I wish it could peel the potatoes, I think I may hate that more (for similar reasons!)

  • A delicious looking dish! A little like our Swiss Rösti.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Nice hash brown…like your Russian version of it…perfect for a weekend brunch.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week Irina :-)

  • Do you remember the MiracleThaw? it was a late 1990s sensation. It was supposed to thaw meat faster, especially on those days you forgot to take chicken out of the freezer before you left for work. Of course, my mother never forgot after we spent that $9.99 + shipping & handling, so we forever referred to it as the MiracleThought. To this day, it continues to collect dist, except when we want to be wowed by the speed with which you can melt an ice cube!

  • Hi Elina,
    congratulations both for the site and recipes! Your style and fotos are unique!
    I’m Greek and our recipes here quite different, however it’s always nice to try something new!
    Since you mentioned the green beans at the end of this recipe, I suggest that you try a meditteranean version of eating them: along with chicken.
    It’s published in the blog that I keep with my girlfriend at: http://littlecookingtips.blogspot.com/2012/01/fresh-green-beans-with-juicy-chicken.html
    Thanx and Congrats again!

  • I love this recipe and will certainly be giving it a try!

  • Wondering if you can help. My blog was hacked and deleted a couple of weeks ago. I have started a new one, but I had lots of regular visitors from Russia and Ukraine, who obviously don’t know where to find me know. Is there a site I can publicise my new blog on that Russians would read so I can see if I can reconnect with any of them? My new blog is http://www.eatingcoventgarden.wordpress.com
    I’d appreciate any advice?
    Love your blog
    Best wishes
    Sandy

  • Melvina Nannen

    I alway buy kitchen gadgets that are made in usa and branded by a known manufacturer. I used to buy chinese made products but they fail miserably. :.*`.

    Newest posting produced by our very own web blog
    http://www.melatoninfaq.com/

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