Yapchik (Potato Kugel with Meat)
(Courtesy Emanuelle Lee)
active: 3 hrs 30 min
This recipe originally appeared on The Nosher.
Yapchik is made up of two layers of golden, crispy potato cake — very similar to a kugel — that sandwich a layer of meat. As the fall days get colder, it will welcome you and your guests home like a hug, and warm you up from the inside out. Yapchik has been referred to as a “Hungarian cholent” because it is traditionally cooked in the oven overnight and, while my recipe is a faster version, I have included instructions below for how to do this.
Developing this recipe made me feel closer to the Hungarian grandfather I never knew and brought back memories of the cooking my paternal grandmother spoiled me with as a kid. She celebrated family by always making sure each family member’s favorite dish was available to them — it’s amazing to think of how much work she put into every family meal.
Her cooking methods were unorthodox. Like most Jewish grandmothers, she had an innate sense of what her food needed, despite having no recipe or measurement in sight. I like the idea that my two grandparents came from different sides of the world — from Hungary and Britain — who would have dined on much different cuisines and would have been able to connect over the flavors of this hybrid dish. I think of them both as the yapchik bubbles and crisps, filling the air of my little apartment with its hearty aroma.