Kachka - Mushroom Matzo Kugel
My parents immigrated to Chicago from the Soviet Union in 1980. When they got there, they met a whole new-to-them branch of my mother’s family that had been in Chicago for decades, having fled Russia two generations earlier. In Soviet Russia, my parents had to bake matzo for Passover in secret. They didn’t have their own strong ties to this important Jewish holiday because they couldn’t really celebrate it. We learned how to be Jewish from our “American Family”. This Matzo Kugel was one of the first recipes my mom learned from her new relatives. The original version involved 1980’s staples such as canned cream-of-mushroom soup and frozen spinach. I’ve upgraded the ingredients while intensifying the flavors for an out-of-this-world savory casserole that you’ll want to add to your Passover traditions too.
Recipe contains egg, wheat, and dairy
CHEF & CO-OWNER BONNIE MORALES' STORY
The first-generation American daughter of Belarusian immigrants, Bonnie Frumkin Morales is an author and the chef/co-owner of Kachka in Portland, Oregon, widely considered to be the best Russian restaurant in the United States. Bonnie grew up in Chicago in a large family that brought with them the distinctive culture of food and drink of the former Soviet Union. She studied product design in college, and began her professional career working for a design consultancy in New York city, before she decided to pursue a career in food. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America, then honed her skills in several of New York and Chicago’s Michelin starred restaurants, including Tru, where she met her future husband and business partner, Israel Morales. As a classically trained chef, her focus was on French cuisine, but when she observed Israel’s enthusiasm and appreciation for her mother’s Russian cooking, it ignited a passion in both of them to shine a light on this underappreciated cuisine in the U.S.
In 2014, the Morales’ opened Kachka in Portland, Oregon: their dream restaurant devoted to the food that Bonnie grew up with, inspired by Russia and the food of other former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia. Kachka has received accolades from publications such as Bon Appétit, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Vogue, and Food & Wine. Bonnie Morales was named one of Tasting Table’s “New Originals,” and nominated for Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef in 2015. Morales’ first cookbook, Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking, co-authored by Deena Prichep, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim. In 2018, Morales was named a Rising Star Chef by StarChefs, and a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northwest. The Portland Business Journal selected Bonnie as one of their prestigious “40 Under 40.” In the summer of 2018, Kachka expanded into a larger space in Portland’s Central Eastside. In November, 2019, the Morales’ opened Kachka Lavka, an Eastern European deli and grocery, upstairs from Kachka, to showcase the breadth of their house made products, from Russian charcuterie to house baked breads. Kachka now wholesales their famous dumplings to local specialty grocery stores, as well as Kachka Horseradish Vodka in Oregon liquor stores. Kachka and Kachka Lavka are currently open for daily takeout, until Portland indoor dining safely resumes. Kachka’s dumplings and merchandise can be ordered
online at kachkapdx.com
Photo credits: Amy McMullen & Carly Diaz