Updated Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 11:03 AM
In this colorful version of traditional Hanukkah latkes, the way the beets caramelize in the oil makes their naturally sweet flavor come bursting through. Shredding the potatoes and beets by hand gives the latkes a more genuine texture, but if you’re like me, one glance at that bag of tots, and you’ll head straight for your food processor’s shredding disk. It doesn’t hurt — with potato latkes, the way you cut them affects the way the starch comes out of the root, which affects the texture of the latke, but not so with beets and sweet potatoes, which are far less starchy.
Latkes can be made a day ahead, drained on paper towels, then refrigerated overnight. Reheat them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven, until sizzling hot. Serve with applesauce or sour cream.
Sweet Potato-Beet Latkes for a Crowd
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes total
Makes: 10 servings (about 40 latkes)
3 pound sweets potatoes, peeled
1 pound beets, peeled
1 large onion, thinly sliced and then chopped
¾ cup all-purpose flour
6 eggs, whisked to blend
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
Using a food processor or a box grater, shred the sweet potatoes and beets. Transfer them to a giant mixing bowl, along with the onions and flour. Whisk the eggs, salt, and about ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl, add to the vegetables, and mix until thoroughly blended. (I found my hands worked best.)
Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add oil until it comes about half an inch up the sides of the pan. When a bit of the potato mixture dropped into the oil sizzles madly, it’s ready. Drop the mixture by ¼ cupfuls into the oil, and fry 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until golden brown on both sides. (If the latkes seem to fall apart when you flip them, be patient; they’re not done yet.) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain briefly. Taste the first batch, adding additional salt and pepper to the potato mixture, if needed, then continue frying in small batches, adjusting the heat and adding more oil as necessary. Serve the latkes hot, just as they come out of the pan, or keep drained latkes warm on a foil-covered baking sheet in a 300-degree oven.
Jess Thomson is the author of Dishing Up Washington, Pike Place Market Recipes and Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker. Her blog is jessthomson.wordpress.com.
Sweet-potato-beet latkes are a colorful twist on a Hanukkah tradition.