I Am Thankful For Sweet Potato Pancakes

So, how was your Thanksgiving? Mine was very enjoyable. Both boys were there, plus my brother-in-law and his wife. They were in charge of the wine, and brought an excellent and generous selection.

Thanksgiving turkey
Last night’s turkey, just out of the oven.

Judy is very good at preparing all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes – turkey, stuffing, cranberries. She also has a powerful need to produce them herself every year. On those years when we are guests on Thanksgiving, she feels the need to cook her own small turkey, stuffing, etc, the next day. And you better be JUST AS APPRECIATIVE the second time around.Ā 

This year we hosted. But because Thanksgiving overlapped with Hannukah, we felt the need to change the menu a bit to recognize both holidays. We considered several possibilities. Judy suggested turkey stuffed with beef brisket, and I advocated for turkey stuffed with matzah meal. These and other ideas were rejected.

What we settled on was sweet potato pancakes. As you may know, potato pancakes (latkes) are the traditional Hannukah dish for East European Jews, and it is something our family makes once a year. Not because they are difficult to make, but because they are so dangerously delicious.

Sweet potato pancakes with home made applesauce.
Sweet potato pancakes with home made applesauce.

Anyhow, Danny found a recipe for sweet potato latkes and we all liked the idea. We ate them with sour cream and home-made applesauce. They were very good. Not good enough to replace regular latkes, perhaps, but definitely worth trying.

The recipe called for green onions but we used ordinary white onions, which was fine. One advantage of making latkes from sweet potatoes is that they have a lot less water in them than white potatoes, so you don’t have to squeeze the shredded bits.

If you try making this recipe and are new to the ways of the latkes, let me share my secret for good potato pancakes: DON’T FUSS. That is, once you put the potato pancake in the pan, don’t keep nudging it or constantly turning it over. Just let it sit there and get nice and crispy, which is the main point. Also, make sure the oil in the pan is good and hot.

Did you try anything new for your Thanksgiving dinner?


54 Comments on “I Am Thankful For Sweet Potato Pancakes

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, if a bit late. This isn’t a holiday we celebrate but it is a good moment to think about what we are thankful for, health, a good life, good friends, good blogging friends etc.

    • It’s a nice holiday, and good for the turkey farmers. People probably don’t think enough about the actual giving thanks element of it.

  2. Glad you had a lovely day. I’m absolutely with Judy on the wanting to do it all yourself! I can imagine the sweet potato latkes would be delicious, and lots of possibilities for adding different spices etc.

    • We didn’t experiment much with spices, but you’re right that there would be some good possibilities: cinnamon, cardomom, cloves … We just used salt, pepper, and onion. But maybe next time …

  3. I love the idea of sweet potato pancakes, although I haven’t made them (not even for the once-in-a-75,000-years Hanukkah/Thanksgiving convergence). They look amazing. But you’re right – nothing beats the original.

  4. I love that Judy does things her way!!! My kind of lady! And I do enjoy potato pancakes so these would be most enjoyable for me! Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

    • Wow, 80 miles seems like a long drive, but I’m sure it was worth it. In my experience, the more people and the greater the distance they travelled, the greater the variety and excess of food!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Jason, I’m glad you and yours had a good one. Oh my, those potato cakes are definitely something I’m going to try. How lovely that you celebrated both holidays.xxx

  6. We often make latkes but always with regular potatoes. We will have to try them with sweet potatoes. They sound not only delicious but perhaps easier to make. Thank you for the tip.

  7. Sounds like you had a wonderful day with family and sweet potato latkes sound delicious! We had 28 family members from three states, our largest number ever and we might have been able to squeeze another table in if we needed to. One nice thing about our big old house is that, although we only live in a small part of it, when things start getting crowded, we can just open pocket doors and add space. We had a very special time.

    • Wow, 28 is a lot of people to eat together! We had 6 but I think 10 is my limit in terms of what feels manageable. Nice that you have a house that can accommodate lots of relatives.

  8. I love latkes and make them pretty often. I do know they really are not so good for my health though, especially gobbed with sour cream. Turkey and matzah, now I cannot go for that one. My ex was Jewish and I have to say, not too much of their cuisine was to my liking, but I do know how to cook and prepare it though. Lots of rules. šŸ˜€ I did make up new recipes this Thanksgiving but you will have to wait until Saturday to find out. šŸ˜€

    • Sounds like maybe you kept a kosher kitchen, which we do not. Judy’s family is actually German Lutheran, and we enjoy old fashioned dishes from both traditions. Although she does think the appeal of some of my favorites, like matzo brei, is kind of mysterious.

      • I love lox and good home made or deli gefilte fish (not the kind that comes in a jar). Also noodle kugel, blintzes, kasha varnishka … I could go on. Actually there is a lot of overlap between German and Jewish cooking.

  9. Your wife obviously knows that the best part of the Thanksgiving meal is the leftovers. Cooking a turkey even though she isn’t doing the hosting is a great idea. I’m glad you had such a great day!

  10. How I love latkes. I used to go to a restaurant in Seattle that served them. The sour cream and applesauce made them so perfect. Matzo Mama’s was the restaurant’s name, just remembered. Thanks for bringing back a great memory. She had great matzo ball soup, too.

    • The number of places that serve this kind of food is certainly dwindling. Good to hear there was this place in Seattle – do you know if it is still open? Here my favorites are a deli in Skokie called Kaufman’s and a place south of the Loop called Manny’s.

      • Matzo Mama has been gone for years; closed before I moved away from Seattle in 92. It was sorely missed by its regulars. Oh, their sour cream coffee cake! And the blintzes!

  11. Thanks for sharing this idea–Sweet potatoes are a favorite of mine. Glad you had a nice Th’giving celebration with family.

  12. The turkey looks delicious, Jason! We don’t celebrate this day like you do but I’m glad you’ve had a great day. šŸ™‚

    • I guess it is an aspect of American culture that never caught on anywhere else. Of course, all countries have enough of their own holidays with special foods.

  13. Glad to hear you had a pleasant Thanksgiving! Ours was great, too. We hosted both sides of the family, which we haven’t done before. The only new thing I tried this year was a delicious Artichoke dish that my sister-in-law brought over. The rest was standard (but incredibly yummy) traditional Thanksgiving food. I’ve heard of Sweet Potato latkes, but I’ve never tried them.

  14. Jason, Those sweet potato pancakes look delicious. I usually have Thanksgiving at a friend’s house, but then I cook turkey with all the fixings for Christmas. Like Judy, I need to fix my own — mostly so I can have the leftovers and the bones for making soup stock. In years when I wasn’t able to cook a turkey for myself, I’ve been known to beg the turkey carcass from a non-soup-making host :-).

  15. I’ve never eaten sweet potatoes, they are not sold here (may be?) But I did the white potatoes pancakes (blinys) and can say it’s enough hard work to cook them because of water in potatoes (as you say!) and it’s hard to turn them over.
    Have a nice sunday,Jason!

  16. We have something called Mortens Evening in november, where we traditionally have roasted duck, with white and brown sugarcoated potatoes with gravy and also red cabbage. In fact is is more or less the same we have for christmas. Those latkes sound interesting, must look up a recipe for them.

  17. We had Tgiving on Friday, so I skipped the turkey in favor of a pork roast. We too had sweet potatoes, plus roasted root veggies (mostly from the garden) and some of the Brussels sprouts the ground hog did not eat. And the best pumpkin pie ever, made by my sweetie. His secret is to replace some of the condensed milk with egg nog. OMG!

  18. I’m reading your post as I’m making turkey stock from the carcass AND I have a veggie/turkey curry in the crockpot. Such abundance, huh? Your feast with family sounds delightful! The sweet tato pancakes sound SO good! I’ll have to try them.

    Last year I tried a new cranberry recipe and fell in love with it. I tried to find the specific recipe online so I could share w/you, but to no avail… Anyhow, it’s a cranberry ginger chutney and is divine. If you’d like recipe, LMK. (I only found imposters online).

    • Judy made soup yesterday but turkey curry sounds awfully interesting. Something else that is good is turkey hash – basically cubed turkey, potatoes, and onions fried in a pan.

  19. I’m with Judy on having your own turkey. We had Thanksgivukkah with friends, and we brought our Brussels sprouts and cannellini beans sauteed with garlic and finished with butter and pecorino cheese. But last night we made our own small turkey. I mean how else are you going to have leftovers? But I envy you your delis. We love where we live, but are essentially deli-less.

    • Those brussels sprouts sound very good. I really like the braised brussels sprouts Judy makes, sometimes with balsamic vinegar. As for the delis, life would be so hard without them. I just hope they stay open.

  20. I am willing to try them, though I do not like sweet potatoes. But I have discovered that I like sweet potato chips, which are crispy and fried. Your recipe has no sugar, so they may appeal to me, after all. This year we had a very traditional dinner, except that instead of the usual turkey, we had cornish hens. Each person got his own bird.

    • Cornish hens can be delicious, but they don’t have enough space for stuffing, and the “inside” stuffing is really the best. And I didn’t know it was possible not to like sweet potatoes, unless you just don’t like starchy foods.

  21. I love fritters and they look even better with sweet potatoes in them! Although sometimes I’d find some varieties to be a bit too sweet (actually, the sweetness definitely varies between each individual potatoes) so I prefer to use carrots in fritters which makes them less starchy and lighter as well. In your opinion and experience, between orange and purple sweet potatoes, which are the sweeter tasting?

      • Wow really? In NZ, we have a variety of potatoes. We even have yams. Purple sweet potatoes are much less sweet, and a bit more starchy. I much prefer them. What are the variety of potatoes available in your region?
        Carrot fritters are much lighter so you can have stacks of them and not be too full šŸ™‚
        Very interested to learn more about Jewish cooking!!

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