Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reuben Latkes for the First Night of Chanukkah

Chanukkah, one of my very favorite holidays, begins at sundown tonight. It brings beautiful candlelight from the menorah, as well as permission to eat fried foods without (too much) guilt!

During the eight days of Chanukkah, Jews celebrate "the miracle of the oil" when a mere one day's worth of consecrated oil burned for eight days as the Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated in 165 B.C. In modern times, this has been turned into a tradition of eating latkes [LAHT-kuhs] - fried potato pancakes - and sufganiyot [soof-GAHN-yoht], which are similar to jelly doughnuts.

Now, don't get me wrong - I am not in any way averse to either fried potatoes or fried dough! But I kinda like to honor the traditions while tweaking them a bit.

So instead of making potato pancakes, I deconstructed Jeremy's favorite sandwich - the Reuben - and turned it into a little crispy fried patty of its own.

The familiar flavors shine through, and then they're even enhanced by the caramelization that comes from being fried until golden brown. You could also add a bit of shredded Swiss cheese to the batter; but that wouldn't be kosher (meat and dairy products can't be combined, according to the Jewish dietary laws). Although I don't keep kosher myself, I do try to respect that many of the people celebrating Chanukkah tonight do.

The Reuben latkes are also great for people - like Jeremy and my fabulous blogging buddy Michele - who follow a low-carb diet; there are only about 4 carbs per latke, as opposed to the gazillion that you'll find in the traditional potato variety.

Happy Chanukkah! Enjoy some fried foods over the next eight days, and don't make excuses - just celebrate right along with me!

Reuben Latkes

12 Triscuit crackers - Rye with Caraway Seeds
2 cups sauerkraut
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
4 ounces sliced deli corned beef, chopped
2 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
Thousand Island dressing, for serving

Crush the crackers into fine crumbs and place into a large bowl. Squeeze the sauerkraut to drain it thoroughly, then add it to the mixing bowl with the cracker crumbs. Stir in the onion, the corned beef, and the eggs; combine well.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls into the oil, making 4 latkes at a time. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side until browned, then remove from skillet to drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining oil and batter.

Makes 12 latkes. Serve hot, with Thousand Island dressing.

And don't forget to check out some other latke recipes for your Chanukkah celebration:

Curried Latkes with Peas

Jambalaya Latkes


Michele Chastain said...

These look AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing!!

Nicole said...

Yum and Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Morning said...

I have never ever eaten latkes. But reading your recipe, I can imagine the taste...and I like it!!

Unknown said...

What an awesome variation on a favorite - as always, you've outdone yourself. And that serving spatula is perfect.

Given the corned beef in there, I'd want to dip that in my spicy mustard-beer recipe rather than thousand island.

If my mom hadn't just finished making the latkes for our Chrismukkah dinner (there's overlap - we had no choice!), I'd ask her to make this. She's definitely going to hear about it anyway.

Unknown said...

I learned from you last year about the fried foods at Chanukkah - I love that tradition. And I love that you tweak tradition.. the latkes sound amazing!!

Candace said...

Jeremy must be loving this recipe so much!!

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