It’s holiday season and that can only mean one thing: FOOD! Lots and lots of food. We’ve already stuffed ourselves with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, so what comes next? For my family, Chanukah is on it’s way and we are so excited for presents, parties and most importantly, latkes! Last year, I experimented with reuben inspired latkes that were perfectly crunchy and salty. This year, I decided to use the leftover squash that I purchased to decorate my Thanksgiving buffet table (for 35 people, by the way) to make another delicious latke! I chose to use the spotted carnival squash, which has a similar flavor to butternut. My first attempt at baking the latkes with sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg did not go very well…I can’t figure out if it was the baking part or the cinnamon and nutmeg that completely ruined the latkes. Round #2 went a lot better for me! Grated raw carnival squash, grated onion and a hint of curry powder give this latke the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Doesn’t hurt that I pan-friend the latkes the second time around. Top these delicious squash latkes with a dollop of homemade stove-top apple butter and Chanukah has arrived!
Carnival Squash Latkes
makes 1 dozen latkes
1 carnival squash, peeled and grated (makes around 4 cups grated squash), can substitute acorn, butternut or delicata squash
1 medium yellow onion, grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp pepper
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
chopped chives, for garnish
Homemade Apple Butter
makes 1 1/2 cups
6 medium sweet red apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
You can make the apple butter several weeks in advance. Just make sure to keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. I placed the diced apples and apple cider in a large pot and simmered on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
I used my new KitchenAid Immersion Hand Blender to puree the cooked apples then added the rest of the ingredients and stirred to combine. You can keep your apple butter chunky or puree until completely smooth. I like a few apple pieces in my butter.
I placed the apple mixture back on the stove and simmered over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once there was no juice left in the pot, the apple butter was ready! My house was filled with the scents of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and I ate spoonfuls of the apple butter before I remembered that I was actually making it to top the carnival squash latkes. Gotta save some for everyone else, right?!?
Now on to the carnival squash latkes! I grated the squash and onion in my food processor and placed the mixture in a cheese cloth to squeeze out any excess liquid from the shreds. I then combined it with the lightly beaten eggs.
I added the flour, salt, pepper and curry to the squash and stirred to combine. I placed the vegetable oil in large pan and heating on medium. Before cooking the latkes, I tested out a small spoonful to make sure the oil was hot enough. You want the oil to sizzle and bubble when the batter hits it. If the oil is smoking, it is way too hot! I scooped 2 tablespoons of the squash batter at a time in to the hot oil and cooked 4 minutes on each sides.
I removed the latkes from the pan and placed on cooling rack with paper towel underneath to catch the cooking oil. You can also place your latkes directly on paper towels to soak up the oil, but the bottoms of the latkes might get a little soggy.
I topped each latke with a dollop of apple butter and sprinkled with a bit of chive for color. My first bite of these carnival squash latkes left my speechless! The curry adds just a hint of spice and the squash provides the crunch that every good latke needs. Instead of a traditional mild apple sauce that has very little flavor and texture, go with this spiced apple butter to balance out the incredible pop of flavors in these squash latkes. Who needs potatoes?!? I certainly don’t miss them.
Yields 12 latkes
makes around 4 cups grated squash
can substitute acorn, butternut or delicata squash