Kugelis By Krokys

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2014 Kugelis Cook-Off Champion: Jurate Krokys Stirbys

1st Place Winner Jurate Krokys Stirbys With Chef Georges Perrier

1st Place Winner Jurate Krokys Stirbys
With Chef Georges Perrier

To participate in the Kugelis Cook-Off, I undertook a little bit of research: I studied my mom’s recipe, went online to look at YouTube recipes and demonstrations, looked at a few more Lithuanian cookbook recipes and finally settled on a basic recipe in Lithuanian Traditional Foods published by Baltos Lankos (1998) containing recipes compiled by Birute Imbrasiene. I was most motivated to avoid the greatest fear there could be with kugelis: having the potatoes turn dark.

And so my poor family was my guinea pig: I made various versions playing around with types of potatoes, degrees of draining potatoes, amounts of bacon, fried or raw onions, and time in the oven. Here is my final version which I entered in the Kugelis Cook-Off. I hope it works for you. The hardest part of the baking is to step away from the oven. Although Kugelis will look and smell done at 1 hour baking time, it MUST stay in the oven baking for at least 1hr 15 min. (if a thinner version) to 1 hr 30 min. (if the mixture comes close to the rim).

Kugelis By Krokys (1st Place: 2014 Kugelis Cook-Off)

  • 5 lbs. Pennsylvania Butter Potatoes (Yukon Gold will do)
  • 2 cups scalded milk (scalding the milk helps to distribute the potato starch)
  • 3 brown eggs (I like to use cage-free I think it adds color and flavor and I feel less guilty)
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, finely grated
  • 1 lb. bacon, finely chopped and fried, do not drain fat
  • 1 cup minced ham
  • Salt to taste
  • Butter for the casserole dish
  • Cheesecloth to squeeze out excess moisture from the potatoes

Although I believe that the grated onion quickly applied to the grated potatoes helps to keep the potatoes white, it is important to prepare all of your ingredients in advance and to work quickly so that the potato batter does not darken.

1. Butter the 10” x 16” (thereabouts) casserole dish (I like to use a glass dish) and set aside.

2. Set up your potato grater. I am lucky, I have the electric kind, otherwise, find a couple of people to help you grate, speed is of the essence.

3. Peel your potatoes and submerge them in cold water. Peel your onion, set aside.

4. Measure out the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan and turn on very low. You will know the milk is scalded when tiny bubbles begin to form along the edges. You can keep an eye on the milk while you are doing other preparation, just don’t forget. Turn off the milk once the bubbles appear. By the way, I used 4% milk.

5. Whisk the eggs and set aside.

6. After you have crisped the bacon, add the ham and mix, and turn off the heat.

7. Set up your cheesecloth so that it sits over a colander which sits over a bowl. You will also need another large bowl in which you will put the squeezed potato mass and into which you will add the other ingredients.

8. Drain the water off of the potatoes. Grate the potatoes. If by hand it must be through the small openings, the potatoes must come out like a fine batter. I suggest that you alternate grating potatoes with grating the raw onion. Same if you are doing it through the electronic grater.

9. Take about ¾ cup of this potato-onion mass and place on the cheesecloth which you then use to squeeze out the excess liquid by hand. I actually squeezed out a lot of the liquid; not all of it but enough to be able to peel off the wet potato-onion mass and place it in the larger bowl. Work quickly.

10. Once you are done with squeezing off the liquid, take the scalded milk and pour over the potatoes and mix with a wooden spoon.

11. Add the whisked eggs, mix.

12. Add the bacon-ham mixture, mix.

13. Add one teaspoon salt, mix.

14. Pour into the buttered casserole dish, and say a prayer as you put it into a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven, the middle of the oven.

15. Plan for 1hr and 30 minutes of baking. If after 1hr. 15min. it looks browned on the top, check with a toothpick in the center. The toothpick should come out completely dry. If not, give it another 10-15 minutes.

We eat Kugelis with sour cream, lots of it. I found that Russet potatoes worked OK but the color was bland. Also, if you don’t have ham that’s ok, but I thought it gave it nice texture. I tried one version with frying the Vidalia onions but I really liked the taste raw onions gave to the kugelis. Good luck!

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Lithuanian Stuffed Chicken Legs Recipe

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Įdarytos Vištienos Blauzdelės: Stuffed Chicken Legs

Stuffed Chicken Legs

See How To Debone Chicken Legs
On Kitchenbounty.com

Ina Radziunas, an active member and contributor on Our Mom’s Lithuanian Recipes shares fond memories of her beloved culinary mentor, Joana Bubulienė and translates her recipe for stuffed chicken legs. We are grateful to both Ina and Joana for this wonderful recipe!

Joana Bubulienė was a very well known Lithuanian cook and caterer in Toronto. Everyone would look forward to her amazing food at weddings and other functions in the Lithuanian community. In 1981 she offered to host a Lithuanian cooking course to teach us her famous traditional recipes and to share some of her culinary tips. She also included recipes for some of her most sought after contemporary dishes. It was held at the Lietuviu Namai (Lithuanian House) – traditionally referred to as the “LN”, in Toronto.

A group of us young, novice cooks took this course with her, held in the LN’s catering kitchen. When we finished, she presented each of us with our own copy of “Lietuviškų Valgių Patiekalai” (Lithuanian Food Dishes). To this day – many of us still have this cherished cookbook and follow her recipes.

Although, sadly, Ponia Bubulienė is no longer with us, her fabulous recipes live on. We still often recall how much fun we had in these classes, remembering this famous culinary tip and wonder how many of us went on to fry our bacon in butter…

Joana Bubulienė's Cookbook

Joana Bubulienė’s Cookbook

Joana Bubulienė‘s Stuffed Chicken Legs

  • 10 large chicken legs (1/2 lb each)

Debone them – but leave the skin ON. I think that skin-on, boneless chicken thighs would work well.

Salt and pepper them and refrigerate overnight or at least two hours.

Stuffing

  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 slices white bread that have been soaked in milk, wrung out
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
A Message From Joana Bubulienė (Click For Larger View)

A Message From Joana Bubulienė
(Click For Larger View)

Melt butter and sauté onions. Combine with all the rest of the ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste. Knead and make sure the ingredients are very well mixed.

Stuff deboned chicken thighs or legs with meat stuffing. Fold skin over to cover and shape nicely.

Place chicken pieces, folded side down, on a greased cooking pan. Brush with oil.

Bake 350° F for 45-60 minutes.

Note: Can bake along with pineapple slices and pitted prunes – that’s how she would serve them. Stuffed chicken legs go well with mixed vegetables and rice.

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