Pastrami Ramen Noodle Kugel

Ramen Kugel

Pastrami Ramen Noodle Kugel found on Food Flirts combines the best of two cuisines -- Jewish and Japanese. The traditional components of a kugel – noodles, mashed potatoes, chicken fat (schmaltz), and caramelized onions are combined with homemade Japanese Ramen Noodles.

Yield: Serves 8-10

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Ingredients

  • 4 ½ tablespoons rendered chicken fat (schmaltz)
  • 1 1/3 cups Panko bread crumbs plus extra for preparing the pan
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 8 large white boiling potatoes, peeled, cut into quarters
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 large onions peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (about 7 cups diced)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced plus extra scallion greens for garnishing
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ pound pastrami sliced thin or cut into small pieces plus an additional ¼ pound thickly-sliced pastrami for lattice topping
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1¼ pounds ramen noodles

Directions

  1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 375º F. Coat a 9-inch by13-inch ovenproof glass baking dish with 1½ tablespoons of chicken fat (schmaltz). Dust the bottom of the pan with half of the Panko crumbs.
  2. Fill a large, non-reactive pot with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add prepared potatoes to salted water. Boil potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, drain, and set aside. Potatoes should be soft enough to allow a fork to pierce.
  3. Add ¼ cup olive oil to a large frying pan. Add onions and fry until translucent over low heat. When onions soften and are light brown, add ½ cup of water, stir, cover, and continue to cook over low heat. Check every now and then, and stir to prevent onions from sticking to pan. Remove cover, stir, and fry until all the water has evaporated. Continue cooking onions for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are soft and a golden brown.
  4. Add cooked potatoes to a large bowl, and mash. Do not worry about lumps. They make the texture more interesting.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of chicken fat to potatoes and mix until combined. Add caramelized onions and scallions to mashed potatoes, gently combine, and add remaining ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add eggs, and then the broth to mixture and mix thoroughly using hands. Gently add noodles to potato-onion mixture.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and smooth with an offset spatula.
  7. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon chicken fat and the remaining Panko crumbs to a frying pan and fry over medium heat until a light brown in color.
  8. Remove the foil and add the toasted bread crumbs to top of the kugel. Use the thickly sliced pastrami to form a lattice over the top of the crumbs. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Check to see if bread crumbs are browning too quickly and rotate if necessary. If not browning enough, place under broiler for 3 minutes, watching carefully. Using a paring knife, gently check to make sure center is fully cooked, and cook longer if needed. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Garnish with reserved scallion greens. Leftover kugel should be placed in plastic or glass container, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated. Remove plastic wrap from top, and replace with foil before re-heating and serving again.

Tips/Techniques

Chicken Fat: Rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) can be purchased from ethnic butcher shops, delicatessens, or on-line. Purchased rendered chicken fat can be frozen for up to three months. Panko bread crumbs are flakier than regular bread crumbs which can be bought at most grocery stores.
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