Wow, Chanukah and Thanksgiving together for the first, and possibly, last time ever! We love to celebrate both with as much food as possible. I’m thinking, turkey, stuffing, latkes, cranberry sauce, jelly doughnuts, butternut squash puree, celery root gravy, and carrot salad (tzimmes) to tie in both holidays. Yes, that’s a lot to cook. That’s why I make things ahead, so that cooking is still an enjoyable task. If I cram it all in one day I would go nuts!
I think I’m also going to make pumpkin smoothies for Friday with some leftover pumpkin puree that I have been using using for pumpkin waffles, I hope to get the recipe for both out soon.
So with latkes on the brain, let’s get frying!
I find a good old-fashioned latke is worth every frying effort, well, maybe doughnuts tie for the first place prize. My older ones help with the prep work, then leave and coincidentally come back as these come out of the oven, looking to grab one on the side. As if Mom doesn’t know. Ha.
In recent years I have been making them with sweet potatoes for it’s nutritional punch and also because sadly my boys cannot tolerate white potatoes. I will admit I kind of miss potato, more than dairy, surprisingly. Sweet Potato does make for a great substitute for their starch and sweet flavor.
I usually make latkes with zucchini and carrots during the year (yes, during the year), but for Chanukah it’s always sweet potato. Our Costco here has organic sweet potatoes, so I bought the huge 10 lb bag.
I double this recipe because in our house 3 dozen is not enough.
Funny Story/Cooking Tip:
Years ago before we removed potato from our diet, I discovered by accident, grating my onions before the potatoes would keep my potatoes from turning grey. I always grated the potatoes first, then the onions. While I would grate those onions, crying away, my potatoes were turning grey in the bowl. Well, one year I grated the onions first, and no more grey potatoes, ever again! Who knew! I don’t make white potato latkes anymore but had to share this tip with you if you do decide to make these with russet potatoes.
To get your latkes (or anything, really) fried up crispy without being greasy make sure your oil is at 350 degrees F. A candy thermometer will give you an accurate temperature and is such a great tool to have for all your frying. If you do not have one then just add a piece of onion to the hot oil (as mentioned in the recipe) and if it sizzles immediately, rising up, then it’s ready. You need to do this for every batch of latkes you’re frying because the more you add, the more the oil will cool off. With the correct oil temperature you will never need paper towels on your plate again.
These do take some time to make (I make 6 dozen) so I make them a a week before Chanukah. I then freeze them in rows between waxed paper, sealed in an airtight container. I thaw the latkes the morning of the holiday meal and bake them 15 minutes before serving.
I am definitely not about standing in the kitchen franticly cooking before my guests arrive. Have it ready ahead of time and just preheat. It will save you so much time for the items you do need to cook on the holiday. You will be so glad you did.
Happy Thanksgivikkukah! Hope your holiday(s) is a blessed one! Enjoy!
Makes about 3 dozen
*You will need a large piece of cheesecloth to fit your bowl with an overhang
5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in halves (If your using russet potatoes see my tip below)
3 medium sweet onions
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup sweet rice flour, or regular rice flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons crushed black pepper
Grape Seed or Coconut Oil for frying
Place cheesecloth into a large bowl, set aside. Grate the onions in a food processor with the grate blade or grate by hand. Transfer to the cheesecloth lined bowl. Grate the sweet potatoes and transfer to the same bowl. Check through to see if there are any large pieces that did not grate and chop those by hand.
Gather the cheesecloth and squeeze as much of the liquid as you can. Discard liquid and repeat. Once most of the liquid has been extracted then remove the cheesecloth.
Add the eggs, kosher salt and pepper, combine. Then add the flour and cornstarch, toss to combine well. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Add about 1/2 cup of oil to a large skillet set over medium high heat. Add a grated piece of onion to the skillet, it should sizzle immediately when the oil is ready for frying.
Note: To get your latkes (or anything, really) crispy – without being greasy –heat your oil to 350 degrees F. A candy thermometer should give you an accurate temperature and is a great tool that takes the guesswork out of frying. Remove thermometer when it reaches temperature and begin frying. If you do not have one wait until the oil looks thin and watery, then add a piece of grated vegetable to the hot oil (as mentioned in the recipe), if it sizzles immediately (rising up) then it’s ready. It should continue to sizzle with every batch. If not, wait a minute until the oil heats up and check again. You will know your oil is still at the right temperature when the oil continuously sizzles with every batch. You will not need to line your plate with paper towels when frying at such high heat.
Note: Do not use olive oil; it becomes toxic when used at a high temperature.
Grab a handful of the mixture and squeeze it in your hands releasing as much liquid as possible to form a patty.
Place latkes in the skillet leaving enough space between each to brown well. When the bottoms have browned (about 3 minutes) flip over and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or so until dark, golden brown.
Note: This does get messy with all the shaping of the latkes, keep some dish towels within reach. I rinse my hands after I get each batch of latkes into the skillet, then wait for the flip.
I use my huge 14 inch stainless steel skillet for moments like these …
Transfer to an oven safe baking sheet with a cooling rack over it (the cooling rack will keep your latkes crispy in the oven). You will need to add more oil to the pan after a few batches. Let the added oil heat up before adding latkes to the skillet (once again check the oil with a small piece of onion).
Note: The cooling rack set over the baking sheet keeps them crispy while cooking in the oven.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Continue the process until you have finished the mixture.
Almost there…promise it’s worth it.
With all your latkes on the baking sheet, bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Serve Hot or Room Temperature (just as delicious) with traditional applesauce or even cranberry sauce since Thanksgiving and Chanukah are together this year! My kids love chunky applesauce …
These taste great even made up to 3 days in advance, kept in an airtight container. Preheat at 300 degrees F for 10-12 minutes before serving.
For making ahead/freezing: Cool completely on cooling rack, then put into a freezer safe airtight container with a layer of parchment or waxed paper between layers and freeze. When ready, defrost few hours before and bake for 10 minutes
- *You will need a large piece of cheesecloth to fit your bowl with an overhang
- 5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in halves (If your using russet potatoes see my tip below)
- 3 medium sweet onions
- 4 whole eggs
- ½ cup sweet rice flour, or regular rice flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons crushed black pepper
- Grape Seed or Coconut Oil for frying
- Add about ½ cup of oil to a large skillet set over medium high heat. Add a grated piece of onion to the skillet, it should sizzle immediately when the oil is ready for frying.
- Note: The cooling rack set over the baking sheet keeps them crispy while cooking in the oven.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Continue the process until you have finished the mixture.
- With all your latkes on the baking sheet, bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve Hot or Room Temperature (just as delicious) with traditional applesauce
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