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Kugelis – Lithuanian Potato Dish

Anthony Grein

I came up with this ‘recipe’ after making this dish for years with my grandmother by ‘feel’. Started to cook it in bulk (60 lbs of potatos) for functions and couldn’t do THAT by feel anymore!

The chicken fat is because my mother’s father’s mother was a Lithuanian Jew and tradition on that side was to use the schmaltz. Most Lithuanians use pork fat – definetly NOT Jewish! However, all Lithuanians love my recipe and tells me it’s less greasy with a better flavor.

I render my own chicken fat when I make chicken stock. I take off all of the skin and render it down for a few hours and tada! I also use 1/2 chicken fat 1/2 butter S&P when dressing vegetables… mmmmmm

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 5 lbs Maine potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of butter (or ½ cup chicken fat)
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 5 eggs beaten
  • 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • sour cream and/or apple sauce

Preheat oven to 425º.  Generously grease a lasagna pan.  In a small pot, heat milk and butter (or chicken fat) until fat melts.  In batches, with a food processor, process potatoes with a splash of the milk/fat mixture until very smooth.  Transfer to a big bowl.  Process onion with the remaining milk/fat mixture until very smooth.  Add to potato mixture and stir.  Add the eggs to the potato mixture and stir.  Add Ritz crackers, salt, and pepper to the potato mixture and stir until all ingredients are combined.  Work fast to keep the potatoes from turning brown.  Pour into greased lasagna pan and bake in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes.  Cover with aluminum foil, lower heat to 350º, and bake for 1 ½ hours.  Remove from the oven, uncover (very important!), and let rest for 15 minutes or more before serving.  Cut into squares and serve with sour cream or apple sauce.

Just as good, if not better, the next day.  Reheats VERY well in the microwave or sliced and sautéed in butter.

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