Potato latkes may be the best-known variety of this crispy staple of Hanukkah meals, but don’t feel you need to limit yourself to them.
Though potatoes have their own symbolism for this Jewish holiday, it’s the oil used in the frying that is particularly significant. It symbolizes the long-lasting oil burned in the temple lamps in the Hanukkah story. There are many latke variations, including sweet potato, onion and carrot.
Since the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving this year, we drew on a staple of that all-American holiday to make a delicious variation — pumpkin latkes. We top ours with a cranberry-spiked sour cream, but applesauce would be just as delicious.
Pumpkin latkes with spiced cranberry sour cream
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup finely chopped dried cranberries
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and shredded (about 3 cups)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Toasted pecans, to garnish
In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
In a medium skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook until very tender and well browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the onion (reserving the skillet) to a medium bowl and mix in the shredded pumpkin, eggs, flour, salt and black pepper.
Wipe out the skillet used to cook the onions. Return it to medium-high heat and add ¼ inch of vegetable oil. Working in batches, scoop the pumpkin mixture by the heaping tablespoonful into the pan, 3 or 4 scoops at a time. Flatten each scoop with the back of the spatula and cook until browned on both sides and tender at the center, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Serve topped with the cranberry sour cream and garnished with toasted pecans.
Nutrition information per serving: 140 calories; 80 calories from fat (57 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (3.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar); 3 g protein; 220 mg sodium.
Latke-crusted apple stuffing
Part of what makes the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing so irresistible is its delicious blend of the lightly crisped top and sides with the tender and moist inside.
That quality also happens to be the mark of a great fried potato latke, one of the most iconic foods of Hanukkah. We decided to combine these classic comfort foods in one dish.
The result is a wonderfully rich stuffing topped by a crispy layer of fried latkes. It’s so good that you may want to make it for years to come, regardless of when Hanukkah or Thanksgiving fall on the calendar.
Start to finish: 1 hour 10 minutes (30 minutes active)
2 large russet potatoes
4 eggs, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
Salt and ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored and roughly chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh chives
2 medium apples, peeled and diced
1 large loaf (about 1 pound) challah bread,
cut into ½-inch cubes and toasted
2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a large casserole dish or a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.
Into a medium bowl lined with several layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, shred the potatoes. Gather the towels with the potatoes inside and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Discard the liquid, dry the bowl, then return the potatoes to the bowl, removing the towels. Stir in 2 of the eggs, the flour, sage and a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat ¼ inch of oil. Working in batches, drop the potato mixture in ¼ cup mounds into the oil, flattening them with the back of a spatula. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
In a food processor, combine the onion, celery, carrots and green pepper. Pulse until finely chopped.
Drain all but ¼ cup of the oil from the pan used to cook the latkes. Set the pan over medium heat, then transfer the vegetable mixture to it and cook until lightly browned and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, then add the chives, apples and challah. Season with a hefty sprinkle each of salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 remaining eggs and the broth. Pour over the stuffing mixture and mix well. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared pan. Arrange the latkes over the top. Wrap with foil or cover and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil or cover and continue baking for 10 minutes, or until 165 F in the center.
Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories; 50 calories from fat (19 percent of total calories); 6 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 80 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate (4 g fiber, 7 g sugar); 8 g protein; 330 mg sodium.