Monday, December 1, 2014

Mom's Potato Pancakes

My mom's potato pancakes were one of my favorite breakfasts when I was growing up.  She didn't make them often (I'm sure if she'd had a food processor to speed things up I might have enjoyed them more frequently!) but when she did make them I'd absolutely stuff myself on those golden, crispy little pancakes.
When I got a little older I realized that her "potato pancakes" were also called latkes and are often served during Hanukkah.  Apparently they're often served with sour cream or applesauce, though we always just ate them plain.  My daughter even likes to eat them with ketchup- they are kind of like a hash brown's tasty cousin.  :-)

Anyway, Thanksgiving found me with some extra potatoes that needed to be used and I was up SUPER early this morning to get my husband to the airport for a business trip (goodness, the sun isn't even finished rising as I write this and I think my son's just about ready for a nap!) so I decided to break out that cookbook my mom made me of my favorite childhood recipes (you know, the one that also includes recipes for her brownies, and her enchiladas, and my Grandma Simpson's spritz cookies...) and make some of those tasty potato pancakes for the kiddos.

lol Ok, one kiddo and some nibbles for me.  The little guy is still awfully picky.

Yum...so good.

I did make a few changes, but nothing major.  I like the oniony flavor of my mom's recipe, but my daughter isn't a fan so I backed the onion down to 2 Tbsp of minced onion this morning.  I also left out the carrot because I didn't have any on hand, as well as adding a little cornstarch to help them crisp up.

The best part?  They reheat VERY well.  This recipe yielded me 12 pancakes, and- although I could probably stuff my face with all of them- I really don't need all of that carb-y goodness around to tempt me, especially while my husband isn't around to help us eat them.  I allowed the extra pancakes to cool and then froze them in a single layer in a freezer bag.  When we're ready to use them I'll just throw them in a 425 degree oven for 20 or so minutes until they're warm and crispy again.  Easy, right?

2 lbs potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled or unpeeled, and coarsely grated
1 large onion, grated or minced (or less, to taste)
1 tsp salt, divided
1 carrot, finely grated (optional)
1/2 C flour
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 egg white and 1 whole egg
Oil for frying

1. Place grated potatoes and onion in a colander and set over a large bowl.  Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and toss to combine.  Press the vegetables to squeeze out excess liquid.  Let vegetables stand for 10 minutes and press them again.

2. Move any thick starch that has collected to a small mixing bowl.  Move potato mixture from the colander to the large bowl.  Add carrot, flour, corn starch, and black pepper; stir to combine.

3. Add egg to reserved starchy potato liquid and lightly beat to combine.  Add to potato mixture and stir to combine.

4. Heat approximately 1/3" oil in a frying pan to 365 degrees F.  Add 1/4 C scoops of potato mixture to hot oil and flatten into pancake shape.  Fry until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes per side.  Do not overcrowd the pan- I prefer to fry 4 at a time.  Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease.  Keep warm in closed microwave or oven until all pancakes have been fried.  Serve warm.

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