Latkes are traditional potato pancakes. We made them every year for our new year’s brunch and served them with homemade applesauce, caramelized shallots, sour cream and chopped chives. There are so many recipes you could use and it seems that anyone who makes these, has their own family version or twist on the traditional pancake. I came across this recipe which uses shmaltz to cook the potato pancakes. Shmaltz is rendered poultry fat and most commonly refers to chicken fat, although duck fat is an even more delicious shmaltz than chicken. AND chicken is hard to beat! To make shmaltz, see instructions at the bottom of this recipe. Now this recipe isn’t mine, but I’m telling you, it’s a good one. I borrowed this from NYT’s Shmaltz Latkes. I have been making schmaltz for years and freezing it. With the holidays coming, I thought I’d use some of the mother-load of shmaltz I have and give this recipe a try. It was good ~ we’ll definitely be making these to kick off the beginning of 2022.
The only twist I made was to add caramelized shallots and chives as one of the finishing touches to the crisp pancake and a tiny bit of lemon zest. And, while it says “optional” for applesauce or sour cream or yogurt — definitely go with homemade applesauce and a full fat, sour cream. Like a Nancy’s cultured sour cream!
These are great as a breakfast / brunch item, hors d’oeuvre or dinner side ~ on top of a kale or spinach salad is amazing!
Makes 8 to 9 latkes or 3-4 portions (This recipe needs to be doubled or tripled for sure!)
Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate potato and shallot. Transfer mixture to a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Working quickly, transfer mixture to a large bowl. Toss in flour, egg, salt, baking powder and pepper until combined. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high, then pour in about 1/4 inch of schmaltz. Once schmaltz is hot, drop heaping 1/4 cup measures of batter into pan. Use a spatula to flatten the drops into discs. When edges of latkes are crispy, in 5 to 7 minutes, flip them. Cook until second side is golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes more. If latkes get too brown before they are cooked through, lower the heat. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve latkes topped with sour cream and applesauce, if you like. Garnish with gribenes if you have them.
- 1 large russet potato (about 10 ounces), peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 1 shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Schmaltz, for frying (see recipe below)
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
- Applesauce, for serving (optional)
- Gribenes, for garnish (optional) — do it!!
Schmaltz and Gribenes
- 3/4 lb chicken skin and fat, diced (use scissors, or freeze then dice with a knife)
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 C onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, toss chicken skin and fat with salt and 1 tablespoon water and spread out in one layer. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until fat starts to render and skin begins to turn golden at the edges. Add onions and cook 45 to 60 minutes longer, tossing occasionally, until chicken skin and onions are crispy and richly browned, but not burned. Strain through a sieve. Reserve the schmaltz. If you want the gribenes to be crispier, return to the skillet and cook over high heat until done to taste. Drain gribenes on a paper-towel-lined plate.