Latkchos (Latkes + Nachos)
Happy Hanukkah internet! For those unaware, it is currently Hanukkah, the festival of lights. How do I know it’s Hanukkah? Because it’s time to make latkes, those oily, crunchy, deep-fried bits of perfection that are mistakenly called potato pancakes. Anyway, Señor Nachos had a brilliant idea: combine the seasonal delectability of the latke with the universal appeal of the nachos. Thus was born THE LATKCHOS.
Here’s what I did. Make any adjustments you feel necessary.
I borrowed the latke recipe from NYCnosh.com. The key to their recipe is mixing mashed potatoes with shredded potatoes that lends a lightness to each latke that other recipes lose. However, since we’re making nachos and need crispness, so I lowered the ratio of mashed potatoes to shredded. More importantly, I also added some finely chopped jalapeños into the potato mixture, so each latke would have a little bit of refreshing heat in it.
Ingredients (modified from NYCnosh.com, on their post Posssibly the Best Latkes We Have Ever Eaten)
5 lbs. white potatoes (this is just easy since they come in 5 lb. bags)
2 small onions
3 eggs, well beaten
1 jalapeño or habañero pepper, finely chopped
1.5 Tablespoons matzoh meal (or flour)
Salt & black pepper to taste
1. Peel and cut half of the potatoes into one-inch chunks. Boil in water until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain and mash (or process smooth in a food processor). Sprinkle matzoh meal on top of this.
2. In a large bowl, shred one large onion. Shred both peeled potatoes into the onion, mixing the potato shreds with the onion to keep the potato threads from discoloring.
3. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from onion-potato mixture by placing the shredded vegetables into a piece of cheesecloth and twisting until no more liquid can be extracted. Return to large, dry bowl and add peppers, egg, pepper, and salt.
4. Add the mashed/puréed potatoes to the shredded potatoes and combine thoroughly. Form into palm-sized patties that are about 1/2 to 3/4 inches high. Fry these patties in 1/4 to 1/2 inches of corn oil (NOT use olive oil). The patties will need to cook for about 5 minutes on the first side, so if they do more than go slightly brown after a minute or two, your oil is too hot. Flip with a spatula and fork and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Drain thoroughly on paper towels.
Now here was my biggest flub: the cheese sauce. Instead of just melting cheese on top, I thought a gooey yummy cheese sauce would be the way to go. I won’t lie, it was delicious, but not as good as it should be. In other words, you discerning nacho lovers out there will not approve. This was a basic Mexican four cheese mix and I followed these basic guidelines from Teri’s Recipes to get my cheese sauce nice and melty.
Ingredients (from Teri’s Recipes)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Mexican mix
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Stir in the flour, being sure to combine it with the butter very well, to make a roux. Let cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Do not let it darken.
3. Gradually add the milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking or stirring vigorously to incorporate. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thickened and just starting to boil, about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
Traditionally, latkes are served with sour cream and applesauce. To nacho-fy the sour cream, I minced up some fresh cilantro and mixed it in. Admittedly, this didn’t really work. For the applesauce, I went homemade and whipped up a surprisingly delicious batch of the stuff. I based it on this simple recipe posted by Elise at simplyrecipes.com, except wherever it called for lemon juice or zest, I used limes instead. Trying to go Mexican or not, I highly recommend applesauce made with fresh lime. It was simply delectable, I really can’t go one enough about how delish this turned out. To further sweeten the pot I added carmelized red onion to the applesauce, resulting in a very sweet and fresh dip for the latkchos.
Ingredients (modified from simplyrecipes.com)
4 large Granny Smith Apples
4 strips of lime peel – use a vegetable peeler to
1-2 limes, freshly squeezed
1 cinnamon stick
1/3-1/2 cup of white sugar
1 cup of water
¼ cup of butter (or oil, for carmelizing onion)
1 red onion, chopped
1. Put all ingredients (except butter/oil and onions) into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
2. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Stir or mash to taste.
3. Melt butter or oil in small frying pan. Sauté red onions until brown. Sprinkle on top of apple sauce after it is on the plate, mix.
So those are all the components, but how does it taste all together?
Obviously, it’s delicious. Not because I’m an amazing cook, but because it’s a pile of comfort food that one can eat under the guise of religious participation. Yum. In the future, I’ll put jalapeños in the cheese sauce and finely chopped habañero into the potato mixture. I was worried about too much heat, but the jalapeño really didn’t provide any. Habanero has a nice way of mixing in with its surrounding, so I figure one would get a hotter latke. Cilantro sour cream just tasted like sour cream, but the apple sauce, oh man, dipping a cheese-covered latkcho into that stuff was simply too amazing.
Now, you can watch a super fast video of me making the recipe along with a strange accompanying song.
So there you have it, the latkcho is born. We’ll try to refine it in the future, but for now it is a delicious little dream come true. Try it out at your next Hanukkah party and let us know what you think. Feliz Hanuká, Feliz Año Nuevo, y felices fiestas a todos!