Cheater’s Latkes

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We had to celebrate Hanukkah late this year; we didn’t have both of our girls home until the 19th. But it’s better late than never, and part of the celebration always includes Cheater’s Latkes (potato pancakes).

I’ve been making these for many years, and was highly amused when one of my favorite food bloggers, Chungah An at damndelicious.net, blogged back in October about her way to make Easy Potato Pancakes. There are some definite similaries between our two recipes. (Do explore her blog; I’ve made a number of recipes from it, and ALL of them have been wonderful.) I have to say, however, that mine came out of an overwhelming need to be lazy. Grating potatoes (with or without onions) is not my idea of a good time. It takes forever, and if I have to go through that much bother just to prep them, I won’t make them. Hence, Cheater’s Latkes.

Do not assume that these are healthy for you in any way, shape, or form. My mother reduces oil in her latkes to almost nothing by baking them in the oven. They are ok, but not what I expect from a latke. If you don’t use a lot of oil, why are you bothering making them for Hanukkah? It’s the oil holiday, and what better way to commemorate it than to fry, fry, fry? I figure I’ll just do this once a year, and be sure to take my Lipitor. Fried potatoes, what’s not to love? (Also note that I do not use onions in this recipe. Years ago, I remember my mother complaining that all the oil and onions were heartburn-producing, so my Uncle Irving suggested baking the latkes and using onion powder instead. I’ve just adopted the onion powder.)

So how do I get around that pesky grating of potatoes task? Use thawed, frozen shredded hash browns. Any brand will do. I’m also too lazy to crack a bunch of eggs, so I used egg substitute. (I’m not plugging the brand, any carton of liquid eggs will do.) Measurements are also not my strongest suit, particularly with this recipe, so the measurements I’ll use are mostly approximations. Nothing is cast in stone, a little more or less of any of the ingredients will work just fine.

Here’s what you need:

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(Plus flour, somehow that didn’t make it into the photo. )

I almost never make this in reasonable quantities, I typically use 2 or 3 bags of shredded hash browns because I need to feed family and guests, elementary school classes, and co-workers.

Add flour to the hash browns.

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Next add the egg substitute.

033Add onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Stir well. If you find that the potato mixture is too wet, you can add more flour, or use a slotted spoon when you go to fry the latkes. (If you like ground pepper, this would be the time to add some. I typically don’t.)

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This is what three bags of potatoes looks like. I’ll include my standard recipe for 2 bags, which will still feed an army. This metal bowl is the largest bowl I own.

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Heat up a frying pan and add about 1/4″ of oil. I use canola oil. Drop potato mixture by heaping spoonfuls (I just use our standard soup spoons) into the hot oil. Be careful, splattering is likely. Flatten each latke down with the back of the spoon.

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Once the latkes start to turn brown on the bottom, carefully flip them over. Remove when both sides are equally browned, and place on paper towels to drain. Looks pretty inviting, huh?

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My friend Elaine actually fried this batch; we figure that since she’s part Irish, her potato-related skills are genetic. She is also more meticulous than I am, and these latkes turned out to be fairly uniform in size and stunningly beautiful. Use paper towels between each layer of latkes when you remove them from the oil.

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It was a rather LARGE batch …something like the Leaning Tower of Latkes.

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Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream. I like both.

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Cheater's Latkes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The ultimate fried for Hanukkah and beyond. It's great as a main dish or a side dish.
Author:
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: enough to feed a small country
Ingredients
  • 2 bags shredded hash browns
  • 1 pint container egg substitute
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • canola oil
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients except oil together in a large bowl.
  2. Heat a frying pan, add about ¼" of canola oil.
  3. When oil is hot, drop potato mixture by spoonfuls into the pan.
  4. Turn latkes over when bottoms are golden brown.
  5. Cook other side of latkes to the same doneness.
  6. Continue cooking the rest of the potato mixture the same way, adding more oil as necessary.
  7. Remove latkes to paper towel-lined plate. You can stack them up as long as you put paper towels between layers.
  8. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

 

The Easiest Potatoes Ever, Even for a Crowd

We’ve all got those recipes we just keep coming back to. Sometimes they’re not even “recipes;” they’re more like ways we throw things together. This is one of mine. It’s pathetically easy, doesn’t require exact measurements, is very tweakable for your personal tastes, and you can expand it to feed a small army. It’s roasted potatoes. Suitable for dinner anytime. Here’s how I do it:

Take a bunch of small potatoes – I particularly like baby yukon golds, or fingerling potatoes. Rinse them off, no need to prick them since they’re small. (They won’t explode in the oven.)

The gifted among us can just dump them into a pan and toss with olive oil. I’m not that gifted. I put them into a plastic bag (typically saved from the produce section of the grocery store), and add olive oil. For a typical small bag of potatoes, I add somewhere around 1/4 to 1/3 cup of oil. Close up the bag and shake the potatoes so that they’re all coated with oil. I never actually measure; you just want all the potatoes to be coated with oil, not drowning in oil.

Pour the oiled potatoes into a baking pan. I usually use a 9″x9″ or 9″x12″ pan. (I made these potatoes for Passover, hence the use of a foil pan.) Sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Take a few sprigs of rosemary and strip the leaves off the stems. Sprinkle the leaves over the potatoes. I’m too lazy to chop the leaves, and they infuse lovely flavor into the potatoes.

Doesn’t it look pretty going into the oven?

Bake at 425 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Feel free to tweak this recipe with other herbs, spices, whatever you like. It’s bombproof.

It’s a great side dish! If you have any leftovers, they make lovely hash browns, or throw them into a frittata. I love recycling.