Jeanne’s Chicken Thighs Stuffed with Matzo and Fresh Vegetable Kugel

Jeanne’s Stuffed Chicken Thighs is a time-honored family holiday tradition for Passover from my mother-in-law. In this household, the Passover meal is celebrated each spring with a large formal family meal and recounting of the story of the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt and their life of slavery and on to freedom.  The evening meal wouldn’t be the same without Stuffed Chicken Thighs.I asked my mother-in-law for the recipe for my blog. Although I’d eaten this dish many times, I had never actually watched the preparation and was surprised at the ingredients. The chicken thighs are stuffed with kugel made from a wonderful combination of fresh, aromatic vegetables, eggs and matzo. The chicken thighs are delicious; this dish is good any time of the year.

Kugel

The fresh vegetable and matzo Kugel makes this dish special. Kugel usually refers to a noodle pudding — a baked casserole made with lots of eggs and noodles. The dish can be sweet or savory and is of German origin. During Passover, any food product (except matzo) made from flour is forbidden, so noodles are out.

Instead, the kugel is made using matzo farfel. Matzo farfel is basically crushed matzo. I made my own farfel using matzos from my neighborhood grocery store; unsalted matzos is all the store had remaining. You can certainly use ordinary matzos, too.

This kugel is savory; it contains onions, carrots, celery, garlic cloves, parsley and dried cranberries (or craisons) for vegetables. The flavors of these vegetables really “pop” in the otherwise bland matzo kugel.

To Make the Recipe

To make the kugel, these chopped vegetables are sauteed; they are added the matzo, eggs, seasonings and chicken broth to make a “dressing” or pudding which is baked in the oven until bubbly and cooked throughout. Then the chicken thighs are stuffed with the dressing. To stuff the thighs, pull back the skin of the chicken thighs and tuck about 1/3 cup dressing under the skin. The recipe for the kugel makes enough to stuff 18 chicken thighs. If you don’t need this many thighs, serve the rest of the casserole as a side dish.Last, coat the chicken thighs with margarine, garlic powder and baked for an hour at 325 degrees. Tent with foil if the chicken thighs brown too quickly; but don’t cut down the overall cooking time.They are done. Time to interrupt the story of Passover and eat the scrumptious dinner.After dinner, let’s finish the story of Passover; it reminds people anywhere how fortunate they are to be free.

The Jewish Pesach holiday is hundreds of years old and lasts eight days. At the Seder meal on the first night, the Passover story is read from a copy of the Haggadah, an ancient text which tells the complete story of the Exodus from Egypt. Everyone participates–from the youngest child to the oldest family member.  Recounting this story hasn’t changed; it is important to the Jewish faith and includes rituals, stories, prayers and a symbolic Sedar plate. Actually, all faiths can relate to this story. So soon we will celebrate another Seder.

Jeanne's Chicken Thighs Stuffed with Matzo and Fresh Vegetable Kugel

  • Servings: 18 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients for Kugel:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus additional for oiling casserole dishes
  • 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups, chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup, chopped)
  • 3 carrots, chopped (1 cup, chopped)
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 4 cups Matzo farfel (about 2/3 of a 11 oz box) – crush matzo with rolling pin
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (craisins), chopped

Method and Steps for Making Kugel:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 13″ casserole dish.
  2. Add 1/2 cup oil to a large heavy skillet, saute the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and mushrooms (optional) over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to large bowl. Then add parsley, Matzo farfel, eggs, 1/2 cup chicken broth, seasoned salt, lemon pepper and black pepper and dried cranberries. Mix to combine and add additional 1/2 cup chicken broth if the dressing is too dry.
  4. Transfer to oiled casserole dish and bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until bubbly.

Ingredients for Stuffed Chicken Thighs:

  • 18 chicken thighs (about 9 lb)
  • 1 recipe Kugel
  • chicken broth, optional
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • garlic powder

Method and Steps for Making Stuffed Chicken Thighs:

  1. Turn oven to 325 degrees, oil 2 large casserole dishes.
  2. Wash and rinse the chicken thighs, set aside.
  3. Crumble the kugel with your hands, add chicken broth if too dry.
  4. Pull back the skin of each chicken thigh and tuck about 1/3 cup stuffing under the skin, stretch skin back.
  5. Brush each thigh with melted margarine and sprinkle with garlic powder.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, tent with foil if the thighs brown too quickly.

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