Inspired by my mother’s dish of Hungarian noodles that was a delicious staple growing up, years ago I set out to try and adapt it to ingredients that were readily available – cooking that was easier and here is the result. Not at all the same thing, but still a staple in the Chuck rotation that is always popular. It has the added benefit of being very nutritious, cheap, and can be easily made en masse when the house is jammed with kids, relatives, friends, and various hangers-on.
Breaking News: Speaking of my mother, she is the only living chef that intimidates chef Chuck specifically for baked goods (which goes a long way to explaining why we tend towards non-baked goods in our culinary travels, I guess). Rather than even trying to match her, I find it’s far more relaxing to let her bake away and supply us with that deliciousness! But the breaking news is that this weekend she has agreed to show me exactly how to make her Hungarian Baigli so stay tuned – if she lets me, I will be quickly posting something using her dark arts.
Sadly, readers who are diet-inclined may not be able to help switching from Atkins, or low-carb, or all-protein or whatever to “All Baked Goods All the Time’. And never be able to switch back again… The rest of you be warned – it’s hard to stop eating perfect Baigli once you have the first bite!
Back to Noodly Dish.
Chicken or mushroom bouillon cubes (or a mixture)
Smoked ham hock or leftover ham
Sausages (see below for ideas)
Portobello or brown/white mushrooms
Sweet root vegetable
Two large bags of medium egg noodles
Two large tubs of cottage cheese
One small tub of sour cream
Pinch of pepper
- In a big pot of water, drop 3 or 4 chicken or mushroom (or mixture) bouillon cubes and whatever of the following you have to hand: smoked ham hock with a few random slices through the outer layer (just to expose the inner meat); any kind of ham that hasn’t been sweetened (like honey or maple glazes) – ham bone is very yummy for this; non-spicy sausage like Farmer’s or Bratwurst or Octoberfest – never ones like Italian, or Chorizo. These sausages are a must for the meal as is at least some small amount of ham product for the final dish. Note the sausages only go into the stock pot about 20 minutes before straining!!!!!! Ham of any type goes in right from the beginning.You can also add rib bones from your last rib fest and/or spare left over chicken wings (not either done with a sweet glaze like maple, though to be fair that type of rib glaze automatically disqualifies it as a food product anyway…..); whatever similar scraps/bones you have to hand involving chicken/pork/beef, but not lamb (too strong flavor). Also any kind of rich flavored vegetable/vegetable scraps you would normally use in a chicken stock – onions are an absolute must, as is some kind of sweeter root vegetable like carrot or parsnip.
- Simmer for as long as you can, but not less than an hour.
- Strain the liquid – this is what you cook the noodles in.
- Set aside smoked ham hock (if using) and sausages to cool, then take meat off the hock and chop into small pieces, Also chop the sausages into very small bite size pieces.
- The amounts involved are, as always on Cooking With Chuck, taste dependent. My mixture would be approximately two larger bags of medium sized egg noodles to one larger ham hock and 4-6 sausages. For vegetable, probably something like 2 – 3 lbs of mushrooms and 2 – 3 bundles of asparagus (or fresh peas or fresh green/yellow or a mixture).
- Rough chop Portobello/brown/white mushrooms (don’t use any of the funkier flavored ones for this dish like oyster). I like to add a lot, but it’s up to you. Sautee mushrooms until water is mostly, but not all, released.
- Saute a large chopped-up sweet onion chopped with the mushrooms for extra oomph.
- I also add some garlic powder unless the sausages I’m using are already heavily garlicked.
- Bring strained liquid to boil and add two large bags of your favorite egg noodles and cook per package instructions until al dente and absolutely no more – in fact, a bit underdone at this stage is preferable.
- In a large lasagna pan, dump noodles, ham and sausage, sautéed vegetables, and fresh vegetables (asparagus, etc.).
- Add a heavy pinch of dried rosemary or basil but very little – there are lots of other flavors in this dish already so I rarely bother. ABSOLUTELY NO salt; a pinch of pepper is OK, but no more than that.
- Add two large tubs of cottage cheese and one small tub of sour cream (or a bit less, if preferred, but not more). As an aside, non-fat cottage cheese or sour cream is not, in fact, either cottage cheese or sour cream respectively, but instead a contender for the grand prize at the No Flavor Fest. My Hungarian roots trend me towards full fat of both, but some vague glimmer of reasonableness also allow me to choose partial fat of each. Whatever you are happiest with is fine for this recipe.
- Mix thoroughly with a serving spoon or spatula and completely seal with a layer of foil – shiny side down.
- Place into the pre-heated oven to around 400F for about an hour.
- Five minutes before serving remove foil and place under the grill.
- Check after 2 minutes and then again at 3 minutes. Don’t let it do more than start to brown and then take it out immediately and serve!
For a one dish meal, no accompaniments are necessary; in fact, I can’t think of a single thing on the side that would make it better or more nutritious, so why bother?
Instead just relax and enjoy.
If anything, Noodly Dish is even better as a leftover!