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Latkes lend savory crunch to Thanksgiving stuffing

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press

Two classic comfort foods united into one rich dish.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 12:01 am

Part of what makes the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing so irresistible is its delicious blend of lightly crisped top and sides with a tender and moist inside.

Turns out that combination also happens to be the mark of a great fried potato latke, one of the most iconic foods of Hanukkah. And since this year marks the rare convergence of Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah, we decided to see whether we could unite these classic comfort foods in one dish.

The result is a wonderfully rich stuffing topped by a crispy layer of fried latkes. And it's good enough that you may want to make it for years to come, regardless of when Hanukkah or Thanksgiving falls on the calendar.

Latke-crusted apple stuffing

Start to finish: 1 hour 10 minutes (30 minutes active)

Servings: 12

2 large russet potatoes

4 eggs, divided

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons minced fresh sage

Salt and ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 stalks celery, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 green bell pepper, cored and roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

2 medium apples, peeled and diced

1 large loaf (about 1 pound) challah bread, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes and toasted

2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth or stock

Heat oven to 350 F. Coat large casserole dish or 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.

Into medium bowl lined with several layers of paper towels or clean kitchen towel, shred potatoes. Gather towels with the potatoes inside and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Discard liquid, dry bowl, then return potatoes to bowl, removing towels. Stir in 2 eggs, flour, sage and hefty pinch each of salt and pepper.

In large skillet over medium-high, heat 1/4 inch oil over medium-high. Working in batches, drop potato mixture in 1/4 -cup mounds into oil, flattening them with back of spatula. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Transfer latkes to paper towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining potato mixture.

In food processor, combine onion, celery, carrots and green pepper. Pulse until finely chopped.

Drain all but 1/4 cup of oil from pan used to cook latkes. Set pan over medium heat, then transfer vegetable mixture to it and cook until lightly browned and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer mixture to large bowl, then add chives, apples and challah. Season with hefty sprinkle each of salt and pepper.

In small bowl, whisk together 2 remaining eggs and broth. Pour over stuffing mixture and mix well. Spoon stuffing into the prepared pan. Arrange latkes over top. Wrap with foil or cover and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove foil or cover and continue baking for 10 minutes, or until 165 F in the center.

Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories; 50 calories from fat (19 percent of total calories); 6 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 80 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 8 g protein; 330 mg sodium.