What a glorious time of year this is! Today is the second day of Hanukkah and Michael and I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas so we get to be super festive the whole month. Every year Hanukkah falls on a different date, because it follows the Jewish calendar. Last year Hanukkah and Christmas overlapped, but this year it falls earlier on in the month.
It is a wonderful thing that Michael can teach me his family traditions, and I can teach him mine, and now we can share both together…and twice the amount of awesome food!!
That being said, we are making potato and leek latkes for the holiday with a sweet apple chutney to accompany it. An interesting fact about why latkes are a holiday staple and are loved in the Jewish community (besides being tasty), is that the oil used to fry the latkes is representative of the oil used to provide light miraculously for eight days!
The glorious thing about this dish, whether you call them latkes or potato pancakes, is that they are marvelous year round and are so unbelievably delicious I am hungry just typing this! So enjoy and happy holidays!
Latkes: 4 medium sized ones
2 large russet potatoes
1 large leek
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
3 granny smith apples
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup apple juice
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
We start with making the apple chutney because it is best served at room temperature, so start by peeling and dicing the apple into same sized pieces depending on how large or small you would like your pieces. Melt butter in a sauté pan, and then add apples. Cook until apples soften, then add apple juice and cinnamon and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from pan, and let sit at room temperature.
To make the latkes, peel the potatoes, and using a cheese grater with the largest size holes grate both of them. Place the shreds of potato into a bowl of water. Now take your leek, cut the end off where it forms a bulb, and then cute where the white starts to turn into green. Next cut in half length wise, take the outer two leaves off, and rinse the stalk under flowing water. Now laying the cut side down, thinly slice the whole leek into small strips.
Take the potato, and place in a strainer and run cold water over until all the foamy starch washes off. Lay a towel out, and place potato on top and ring out as much of the water as you possibly can. Place potatoes back in a large mixing bowl, mix in leeks, salt and the egg (lightly beaten). Be sure to mix thoroughly so all the parts are coated in egg because this is your binder.
In a large sauté pan heat your olive oil until it sizzles when you put a drop of water in it. Take about 3-4 Tablespoons of your latke mix and place in a circle in the pan, using a spatula push down to spread it out evenly. Put as many as you can in the pan, and flips them when one side becomes golden brown. When they are done, they should be golden brown on both sides, take them out and let them sit on a plate with a piece of paper towel on it to absorb excess oil.
When they cool serve with the apple chutney and any other toppings you like! Don’t just make these for the holidays, you can make these year round!