The first bread kugels made 800 years ago probably didn’t have more than a few raisins in them. They definitely didn’t have sun-dried tomatoes, since tomatoes were first brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century! This recipe combines many of the flavors and foods found in Spain and Portugal (the home of Sephardic Jews) with the classic technique for making a bread kugel.
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for greasing the pan
1 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
½ cup chopped mixed dried fruit (apples, prunes, pears, apricots, or any of your other favorites)
½ cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 cup apricot nectar
¼ cup Madeira (optional; add more apricot nectar if not using)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
½ cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1 loaf of white bread or challah with crust, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon crushed rosemary
½ teaspoon sage
¼ teaspoon marjoram
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Kosher salt and 10 grindings of pepper to taste
1½ cups chicken broth, warm or at room temperature
1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil until lightly golden. Add the celery and mushrooms, and sauté for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and have given up their juices. Set aside.
2. Grease a 2-quart casserole or 11½ x 8-inch pan with some additional olive oil.
3. Combine the chopped dried fruit, dried cranberries, apricot nectar, and Madeira in a small glass bowl, and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Set aside.
4. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes, almonds, and bread cubes in a 4-quart bowl.
5. Mix the seasonings with the chicken broth and egg. Set aside.
6. Add the onion mixture and the dried fruit/juice mixture to the bowl with the bread cubes and toss.
7. Add the broth and egg mixture, and stir until the mixture is very moist and almost runny. If necessary, add a little more broth or nectar.
8. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole, and bake at 350°F for 30–40 minutes.
The casserole can be baked for the first 25 minutes covered with foil, shiny side up. Then remove the foil for the remainder of the cooking time. This will give you a very soft stuffing.
Want the awesome kugel server shown in the picture? Get it here!
This recipe is reprinted with permission from ReformJudaism.org and from Tina Wasserman’s Entrée to Judaism for Families: Jewish Cooking and Kitchen Conversations with Children.