These mini kugels are perfect as hors d’oeuvre or as a vegetable side dish. Almost everyone loves a potato kugel, and these are a bit special - lighter, puffier, and cute as a button.
The most important elements of potato kugel are the onions and the fat. If you get these right, you just can’t ruin a kugel. I use chicken fat, which you can buy in a kosher market, render yourself, or reserve from the solidified fat at the top of homemade chicken soup. If you don’t want to use chicken fat, ordinary vegetable oil will do (use peanut or cottonseed oil on Passover).
Bake these in 3 mini muffin pans, each with 12 1 x 1 1/2-inch cups. They are best served right from the oven, hot and puffy, but are also good reheated in a hot oven, not a microwave, to retain some of the crustiness. They can be frozen, once cool, in plastic bags.
2 to 2 1/4 pounds potatoes
1 medium onion
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup chicken fat or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons matzah meal
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (375 degrees convection) and spray or grease the muffin pans.
Peel and cut up the potatoes into chunks and place in a bowl of cold water until ready to process. Peel and quarter the onion. Melt the chicken fat if using. In a blender, place about one-third of the potatoes, 1 or 2 pieces of onion, and about 1/2 cup of cold water. Grate until well-processed, pour the mixture into a sieve over the sink or a pot and let drain. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and onions and add to the sieve to drain. Press on the solids to release as much of the liquid as possible.
Pour the potato mixture into a bowl and add the eggs, chicken fat or oil, matzah meal, and salt, and mix well. Place spoonfuls into the muffin cups, filling almost to the top. Bake immediately for 30 minutes (20 minutes convection). Since you will be baking three pans at once, if you use a regular oven you should rotate the pans halfway through to cook evenly.
Serve immediately or cool the mini kugels on a cooling rack before placing in the refrigerator or freezer. Makes 34-36 mini kugels.