Cooking for Luv: Vegetarian + Vegan Recipes
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Southern Style Hanukkah Potato Latkes

07 Dec Southern Style Hanukkah Potato Latkes

These ain’t your Bubbe’s Chanukah latkes. Inspired by my trip this week to North Carolina, my traditional potato pancake recipe (based on my dad’s famous “potato pancake” recipe) gets a Southern twist with the addition of my Grandma’s favorite onion, the Vidalia (she used to eat them like apples), and her “Milk Gravy” (thank you, mom, for walking me through it!). Try it (trust me) and you’ll never look at the festival of lights in the same way again. Happy Chanukah to y’all!

Southern Style Hanukkah Potato Latkes
Yields 12
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Latkes Ingredients
  1. 6 Cups Peeled and Shredded Russet Potatoes (from about 3 large potatoes)
  2. 1 Cup Vidalia (or other sweet variety) Onion, Shredded
  3. 3 Tablespoons Flour
  4. 2 Eggs, beaten
  5. Kosher Sea Salt
  6. ½ -3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
Milk Gravy Ingredients (makes 2 cups)
  1. 4 Tablespoons Oil
  2. 4 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
  3. 2 Cups Milk (to veganize, use non-dairy milk)
  4. Kosher Sea Salt
  5. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  1. Mix potatoes and onions in a microwave safe bowl. Transfer to the center of a clean lightweight kitchen towel (depending on the size of your towel, you may need to do this is batches). Squeeze out as much liquid as possible (use those muscles- it will take a few minutes and a lot of serious squeezing to get out all the liquid) and place back in the bowl.
  2. Heat the potatoes in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds so they evenly cook. (This will ensure your latkes are cooked all the way through when you fry them, since inevitably the outside always gets crispy before the inside cooks without this step. You are basically doing what we normally do when parboiling potatoes before roasting, but since we need to shred them while raw and moisture is our enemy here, boiling them in a pot of water won't do). Remove from microwave, season with salt, and let cool.
  3. Stir in flour and eggs to mix well to combine.
  4. Heat ¼ cup oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until sizzling but not yet smoking.
  5. Scoop up latke size portions of your potato mix, gently squeezing out any excess liquid, and drop them in the hot oil (Do not crowd the pan, give them room to sizzle). Quickly, with a fork, spread out your latke to an even height- making sure it has potatoes sticking out at the edges and isn't a perfect circle (notice how we don't pack them tightly like burger patties, you want lacy edges so it needs to have some breathing room).
  6. (You will need to do a few batches, adding oil between batches and bringing it back up to temperature before adding the next batch.)
  7. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, then carefully flip and cook until the other side is golden- about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and repeat until all the latkes are cooked. (You can keep these at room temperature for a couple of hours until you’re ready to serve). Save the pan with the remaining oil in to make your gravy.
When you are ready to eat
    Make your gravy
    1. Over medium heat, warm the leftover oil (if it doesn’t look like ¼ cup, add a little more) until it shimmers. Stir in the flour and cook until flour is toasted golden brown. Add the milk, and whisk into flour mixture until it boils and the mixture thickens- just a couple minutes. If you need to, add more milk to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and keep warm (this is a “serve immediately” not a “make ahead” kind of sauce).
    Reheat Latkes
    1. Since you’re probably doing this in batches, you’ll never have all of them hot at serving time (unless you continuously serve after every batch is done). So the following applies whether you’re serving right after you finish the last batch or an hour later.
    2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a second nonstick skillet over medium high heat until sizzling, and quickly fry on each side for about 20 seconds. Alternatively, you can reheat in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven until hot, about 2 minutes on each side
    To serve
    1. Give your gravy a whisk, then either drizzle gravy over top latkes and garnish with black pepper, serving extra gravy on the side- or serve latkes on their own and let folks spoon their own gravy on top.
    1. If you are using the food processor to slice your potatoes (you should, it makes life so much easier), make sure you use the large holed shredder side of the shredder blade, and put your potatoes in the top so it lays horizontally, thus giving you long shreds (don't feed it vertically down the tube, your shreds will be super short)
    2. Do not skip the really really hard squeezing, the microwaving, or the loose packing- they are essential to a great latke!
    3. Special thanks to Cooks Illustrated for the microwave trick- I always had latkes with raw tasting centers and this little piece of culinary wisdom solved the problem in a snap. While I rarely encourage microwave use, this is one time where it's the best option I've found.
    cooking for luv
     Southern Style Hanukkah Potato Latkes

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