This traditional recipe for Lithuanian savory potato pudding, known as kugelis or bulviu plokstainis (literally "flat potato"), produces a dense, heavy affair that is considered a national dish of Lithuania.
It is commonly served with applesauce, lingonberry preserves, sour cream, or crumbled bacon bits. Kugelis can be eaten as a main course or side dish.
- 1/2 pound chopped bacon
- 1 large chopped onion
- 5 large beaten eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 (7-ounce) can of evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup farina (not quick-cooking kind)
- 5 pounds peeled and grated (not shredded) red or white potatoes
- Place oven shelf in middle and heat to 350 F. Coat a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large skillet, sauté bacon and onion until lightly browned and caramelized. Leave them in the skillet and do not drain the fat. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, evaporated milk, salt, and farina. Add bacon-onion mixture and drippings. Stir until well combined.
- Using a food processor or by hand, finely grate potatoes, squeezing out excess moisture. Work quickly so potatoes don't darken. Check out this quick tip on how to keep your grated potatoes from turning dark.
- Add grated and squeezed potatoes to the bacon-egg mixture, combining well.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until top is quite brown but the interior is solid but still moist.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve as a side dish or as a main course with a salad.
- Leftovers can be browned in butter the next day.
Potatoes Abound in Lithuanian Cuisine
Lithuanian cuisine shares many culinary traditions with Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Germany, and Ashkenazi Jews. That means potatoes reign supreme and exist in nearly every course. Besides kugelis, also known as kugel, they star in these other potatoes dishes:
- Lithuanian Zeppelin Potato Dumplings Recipe: Known as cepelinai, these football-shaped dumplings made with a raw and cooked potato dough are filled with meat or cheese.
- Lithuanian Potato Sausage Recipe: Vederai or potato sausage can be made entirely meatless or with the addition of bacon. The only other ingredients are grated potatoes, eggs, onion, seasonings, and a few tablespoons of flour.