Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, plus baking and cooling times
Servings: 6 to 8
Note: If your family does not serve peas on
2 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes (about 7 medium-large), preferably yellow-fleshed
Pinch of saffron threads, crushed (about 1/8 teaspoon)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 large onions (total about 1 pound), chopped (about 3 2/3 cups)
6 ounces small mushrooms, halved through stems, then quartered (about 3¼ cups pieces)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, plus additional freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/8 teaspoons paprika, divided
1 large carrot (about 4 ounces), quartered lengthwise, sliced ¼-inch thick to form dice (about 1 cup diced)
1/2 cup diced broccoli (about 1½ ounces), including tiny florets and diced stems (diced into roughly ¼-inch pieces)
1/2 cup fresh shelled peas (from about 6 ounces of pods) or frozen peas
4 eggs plus 1 finely diced hard-boiled egg, divided
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley, or parsley mixed with cilantro
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover, about 5½ cups water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and cook over medium-low heat until tender enough to mash, about 40 minutes. Remove the potatoes to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside until cool enough to handle. Pour the potato cooking liquid into a container.
2. Put the saffron in a small cup. Pour one-third cup hot potato broth over it. Cover and set aside until needed.
3. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt, a pinch of freshly ground pepper and 1 teaspoon paprika and sauté, stirring often, until the mixture is light brown, about 7 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Return 2 cups potato broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the carrot and broccoli in the saucepan, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Add the peas to the saucepan and cook until tender, about 3 minutes for fresh peas and 1 minute if using frozen. Remove the peas to the bowl with the rest of the vegetables and discard the cooking liquid.
5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Finely mash the potatoes using a potato masher, then mix in the uncooked eggs, one at a time. Add 1 tablespoon oil and mix well. Stir in the saffron mixture, 1 teaspoon salt and one-half teaspoon pepper and mix thoroughly. Gently stir in the parsley, the cooked vegetables, the sautéed mushrooms and onions, and the diced hard-boiled egg.
6. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with oil. Spoon the potato mixture into the dish and smooth the top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.
7. Bake uncovered until the top is firm and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let stand at least 20 minutes before serving; the kugel can be served hot or warm. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and serve using a large serving spoon.