From Leftovers To Potato Pancakes

Who doesn’t love potatoes. I could eat potatoes all the time. I love them no matter how they are prepared.

I am still finishing up the last of our Thanksgiving leftovers. This time, I used up our mashed potatoes by turning them into loaded potato pancakes. Traditionally, latkes or potato pancakes, are served with a dollop of sour cream or applesauce or both. Latkes need a condiment that will cool the palate and cut through their latke-oiliness. They also add sweetness and flavor. I served them with sour cream for Larry and just plain for me, though if I had applesauce, I might have chosen that.

Potato pancakes are close cousins to their Jewish counterpart, potato latkes. Both latkes and pancakes use potatoes and eggs as the main ingredients.Β Latkes, however, also include baking powder, matzo meal, and even milk sometimes.Β Potato pancakes usually do not include these ingredients. Potato pancakes can be made from raw and cooked mashed potatoes.

Latkes were originally peasant food from the eastern European countries of Germany, Austria, Russia and Poland. Potatoes were cheap and readily available and easy to store, which made them the perfect staple for the poorer people of these countries. Latkes were particularly popular among the Jewish communities. The word latke is a Yiddish word that means pancake, and it comes, via Yiddish, from a Russian word meaning “little pancake.”Β Latkes can in fact be made from almost any vegetable, bean, cheese, or grain. The latke, it turns out, has its roots in an old Italian Jewish custom, documented as early as the 14th century. That, it seems, is where Jews first fried pancakes to celebrate Hanukkah, only back then, they were made of cheese. Latkes are eaten during Hanukkah to remind Jews of the miracle of the oil associated with Hanukkah.

This particular version that I made was loaded. We are not Jewish, but we love latkes. Larry is German, and potato pancakes and latkes are a part of the German heritage as well as the Jewish heritage. I added bacon, green onions, garlic and cheese to mine (well the cheese was in Larry’s portion, not mine). I am pretty sure the original Jewish version does NOT contain bacon though. πŸ™‚

Loaded Potato Pancakes

3 cups cooked and cooled mashed potatoes

1 cup flour

1 cup shredded cheese

5-6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4-1/3 cup green onions

1 TBSP garlic

salt & pepper to taste

2 eggs

chopped parsley

4 TBSP butter

olive oil or other oil for cooking

Combine everything together and mix well.

Form into balls about 3-4 oz each. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill for at least 10-15 minutes before frying. This is to help them set a bit, making them easier to use.

In a large skillet, add the butter and oil and get it very hot, 350* F or 190* C. Instead of olive oil, I used the bacon grease and butter to fry them up. Place the latkes or potato pancakes in the skillet, but do not over crowd them. Allow them to fry about 3-4 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown.

When they are done, serve them immediately with with a dollop of sour cream or applesauce, or both and enjoy. These are best when served hot. They are crispy on the outside and smooth and velvety on the inside. Perfect! Mazel Tov!

Have a great day Everyone. Stay warm, stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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