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thanksgivukkah: the latke turkey sandwich

yumivore thanksgivukkah latkes

Dominique Ansel, a now famous pastry chef in New York, burst onto the scene this year with his creative invention, the half-croissant half-doughnut, the Cronut. This year also brought us the Ramen Burger, a juicy burger wedged in between crispy-fried ramen patties. Hybrid foods are nothing new though. Take the Iraqi-style sabich sandwich in Israel. Sabich is an acronym in Hebrew for salat salad, baytzim eggs, and chatizilim eggplant. A twist on falafel, pickles included, the sabich proves that food just fits well in pita. But back to 2013, perhaps this year will be best remembered for the holiday mashup of Thanksgiviukkah and the creative dishes that’s to be dished up with it. That’s right, the convergence of two holidays on one table. The last time Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fell on the same date? Only once before in 1888 and won’t happen again for another 78,000 years.

So how does one celebrate Thanksgivukkah? Latkes alone feels like an entire Thanksgiving feast after you’ve eaten a few. Surprisingly, there are quite a few dishes that can capture the flavor of both holidays in one bite. Behold one such solution: The Latke Turkey Sandwich. Assembly required, recipe below.

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For this dish, you’ll need slightly larger than usual latkes that are also a bit firmer to hold the weight of the turkey meat. I modified my mother’s potato pancake recipe adding more egg and matzo meal to the latke batter. I also formed the potato pancakes into patties before dropping them into the frying pan.

Large Potato Latkes
1-1/4 pounds large potatoes, peeled (the russet potato works best for frying)
1 medium onion
1 + 1/2 an egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
3-4 tablespoons matzo meal
1/2 cup or more of vegetable oil (or canola oil)

Follow directions found here: My Mother’s Potato Pancake (Latke) Recipe via Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook. When you’re ready to place the latkes (levivot in Hebrew) into the pan, first form them into patties. The extra matzo meal and egg will bind the batter together and allow you to do so.

The sauce for this sandwich is simple. Combine your favorite apple sauce with a chunky cranberry one. Homemade or from your favorite market, mixing cranberries and apples makes a delicious concoction, the fruit based sauces blend beautifully well together. Of course a lakte turkey sandwich needs turkey. Select your favorite cut (and tofurkey or other vegetarian protein works well too) to add to the mix. When you’re ready to serve, spread the sauce onto two latkes, place the turkey in between and serve warm.

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Hot, crispy savory potato latkes straight out of the pan, with slightly tart and a hint sweet cranberry applesauce with juicy turkey wedged in between – it’s the best of both holidays all in one bite. Serve it up on Thanksgiving, the first night of Hanukkah for dinner, it’s fancy enough to be a main meal. Or make it for lunch, it’s a great sandwich solution for turkey leftovers. I can assure you, it’s so scrumptious, you don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy this.

For more Thanksgiving + Hanukkah = Thanksgivukkah ideas, see How To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, The Best Holiday Of All Time. There’s also Carve the Turkey and Pass the Latkes, as Holidays Converge. I think even Seinfeld fans who celebrate Festivus would agree, Thanksgivukkah is going to be something.

Happy Hannukah, Thanksgiving, Thanksgivukkah, and may it be a delicious holiday.

For past Hannukah related posts see:
potato pancakes
sweet sufganiyot and the foods of hannukah

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potato pancakes

Potato pancakes, or latkes (referred to as levivot in Hebrew) are essential to a Hannukah menu. But potato pancakes aren’t just for Hannukah, they’re delicious year-round and it’s a great appetizer to enjoy at gatherings or parties as well. Potato pancakes make for great finger foods, can satisfy your fried food cravings and is a vegetarian dish that will please a large crowd. I’ve cut back on the amount of fried foods I eat in general, but every once in a while it’s worth it and these are worth the exception. I find Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook a great source for recipes, her recipe for latkes included.

When serving potato pancakes straight from the pan, some optional garnish ideas include sour cream mixed with dill, chives, or scallions based on your preference. Or in addition to the seasoned sour cream, top with smoked salmon or lox for another option. And for a little something decadent, serve with chopped chicken liver or my vegetarian alternative walnut pâté. In Israel seasoned sour cream is the usual garnish of choice for this dish. In the U.S. apple sauce is often an accompaniment; tart and a hint sweet apples mixes wonderfully with this pleasantly salty starchy dish.

My Mother’s Potato Pancake (Latke) Recipe via Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook

Food processor with large grating disc or hand grater*
*There is a difference between the large grating disc versus using the regular blade on the food processor. For crispier potato pancakes, similar to hash browns, be sure to use the grater. A bit easier to mold in the pan, opt for the regular blade. There is a difference in texture, a slight difference in taste, but both are delicious. The pictures here reflect potato pancakes made using the regular blade.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (12 to 15 pancakes)

1-1/4 pounds large potatoes, peeled (the russet potato works best for frying)
1 medium onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I also add ground black pepper)
2 tablespoons flour (I prefer matzo meal, ground matzo flour, but use what’s on hand)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (not required if using matzo meal)
1/2 cup or more of vegetable oil (or canola oil)

Using coarse grating disc of a food processor or large holes of a hand grater, grate potatoes followed by the onion.Transfer the puree to a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible; discard liquid. Put potato-onion mixture in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix together.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a deep heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet. For each pancake, add about 2 tablespoons of potato mixture to pan. Be sure not place too many pancakes in at once or the mixture won’t crisp as desired. Flatten with back of a spoon so that each measures 2-1/2 inches. Fry over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Using 2 pancake turners, turn them carefully. Fry second side about 4 minutes, or until pancakes are golden brown and crisp. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot. Garnish with sour cream or toppings of choice.

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