Background:

I’ve been helping a friend of mine (Adam Kaufman) launch an exciting new brand of Jewish-inspired jerky here in Baltimore called Jewish Jerky Brand, and he asked me to come up with a Passover-themed recipe that uses one of his unique and delicious products as an ingredient.

What’s A Kugel?

A kugel is a baked casserole dish originating from Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. Traditionally made with either noodles or potatoes, it’s bound together with eggs and dairy products like sour cream or cottage cheese. Kugels can be sweet or savory, with the noodle version often leaning towards sweet with raisins and spices. This recipe features a potato kugel with a savory twist using Merguez jerky.

What’s Merguez?

For those not familiar with what Merguez is, it’s typically a lamb sausage with a blend of herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, fennel, paprika, garlic, salt, and harissa, which creates a sweet, smokey, and spicy flavor profile that hits all the sensory notes.

Kugel Recipe:

My take on this Passover kugel recipe is a unique creation that marries the distinct smoky and spicy flavors of Jewish Jerky Brand’s Merguez-style beef jerky with the rich sweetness of caramelized onions, offering a gourmet twist on a traditional side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 pounds (~6) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 3/4 cup fine matzoh meal
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped Jewish Jerky Brand Merguez style beef jerky
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions:

1). Prepare the Baking Dish: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Generously grease a 9×10-inch baking dish with extra virgin olive oil.

2). Caramelize the Onions: Heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the chopped onions, reduce the heat to low, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deeply caramelized and sweet, about 25-30 minutes.

3). Mix the Kugel Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the grated potatoes, matzah meal, beaten eggs, caramelized onions, merguez-style beef jerky, parsley, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Mix thoroughly to ensure an even distribution of ingredients.

4). Assemble the Kugel: Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly. Press down lightly to compact the mixture, which helps achieve a firmer texture.

5). Bake: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

6). Cool and Serve: Allow the kugel to cool in the dish for 10 minutes before slicing. This resting period helps the kugel set and makes it easier to cut. Garnish with additional chopped parsley before serving.

Serve with Horseradish, Sour Cream, and Granny Smith Apple Sauce:

Sauce Recipe:

This sauce, with its creamy texture, zesty horseradish kick, and the fresh, tart twist from the Granny Smith apple, will complement the spicy and savory notes of the merguez style jerky and the sweetness of the caramelized onions in the kugel. It’s a perfect way to add a refreshing contrast to each bite of the rich and flavorful kugel.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish (or to taste)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh dill or parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

Instructions:

1). Prepare the Apple: In a small bowl, mix the grated Granny Smith apple with lemon juice immediately after grating to prevent browning.

2). Combine Ingredients: Combine the sour cream and prepared horseradish in a medium bowl. Mix well to ensure the horseradish is evenly distributed.

3). Add Apple to Sauce: Stir the lemon-treated grated apple into the sour cream mixture, blending thoroughly.

4). Sweeten and Season: Add the honey, stirring until well incorporated—season with salt and pepper to taste.

5). Garnish: Sprinkle with finely chopped dill or parsley for an additional layer of flavor and a touch of color.

6). Chill and Serve: Cover and refrigerate the sauce for at least 30 minutes before serving for the best flavor. This allows the flavors to meld together.

You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this recipe….think if it like a variation on a Spanish Tortilla or French potato Galette.

Looking to buy Adam’s Jewish Jerky Brand Merguez style jerky….you can find it at some of Baltimore’s wonderful retail shops and the JFX Farmers Market every other Sunday.  If you don’t live in the Baltimore area, you can substitute any other sweet and smoky flavored beef or bison jerky and it should work just fine.

Happy Passover!

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