Sunday, November 18, 2012

Delicious Potato Pancakes

I've been hosting our family Hanukkah party for the last 20 years or so, and that means I've been making potato pancakes, or "latkes" as they're called by Jews, for two decades. I have tried lots of different recipes during that time, and my cookbook has notes to myself scribbled all over it. I must admit, I dread making the latkes, and every year I consider buying them instead. But I never do. I always make them, and my family always loves them. Today, with the help of my daughter, I documented exactly how to make these delicious, traditional, labor-intensive, fattening, (did I say delicious?) treats.

Ingredients to make about 40 potato pancakes (allow 2 hours from start to finish):
5 lb potatoes
1 sweet onion
4 eggs
1 T salt
1 C flour
Canola oil for cooking

Note: If you're going to double or triple the recipe for a large crowd, I suggest making one batch at a time. You can make the second batch while the first batch is frying.

1. Peel the potatoes and put them in a bowl of cold water. (Do not put the peels down the garbage disposal unless you want to spend a couple hundred dollars on an emergency plumbing visit. Yes, that happened to me. Twice!)

2. Grate the potatoes in a Cuisinart and put the grated potatoes in a bowl of cold water. (The potato water will turn a little orange as it sits and the starch comes out of the potatoes. Don't panic.)

3. Strain the grated potatoes and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. 

4. Chop the onion in the Cuisnart until it is onion-mush. Add the flour, salt, and eggs.

5. Add the onion-egg mixture to the grated and strained potatoes and combine well.

6. Heat about a 1/4" of oil in a pan over medium heat. Put spoonfuls of the potato mixture in the hot oil and flatten a bit to make pancakes.

7. Cook for about five minutes per side. They are ready to turn when they're brown around the edges. 

8. Gently lift the golden brown pancakes out of the oil and squeeze between two spatulas to get some oil out.

9. Cool the pancakes on paper towels, where more oil will come out. 

10. Serve with apple sauce and/or sour cream. 
Or better yet...
11. Freeze in ziploc bags and defrost the day you plan to serve them. 
12. Reheat on cookie sheets at 350 for about 10 minutes. 
13. Blot and serve. 
I much prefer making them in advance because the kitchen is a disaster after this project. I can clean it all up, and the day of the Hanukkah party, it is very easy to reheat the latkes on cookie sheets. No mess.

Homemade latkes are a ton of work, but they are so worth it and way better than store bought! Hope you enjoy. Happy Hanukkah!!