Kartoffelpuffern -- or potato pancakes (so much less fun to say) -- are a guilty pleasure of mine. Next to scones, they are my favorite breakfast/anytime item to make. Just the thought of crunchy, warm potato patties smothered in tangy sour cream and sweet apple sauce makes me swoon.
Recently (er, not so recently...I've been a wee bit busy lately and have fallen behind on blogging) I attended the "big dig" at Great Country Farms. It was my first potato digging experience. Well, actually, the tractor really did all the digging. It ripped up the fields and I (and dozens of kids) jumped behind the tractor, scooping up the piles of potatoes in its wake. Ryan and I left with a bag full of the freshest, best potatoes we'd ever tasted!
Thanks to my always trusty food processor, I can turn a few small potatoes and half an onion into perfectly shredded ribbons in about 3.5 seconds. From there, gather up all the potato/onion shreds into a cheesecloth or kitchen towel (even some sturdy paper towels would work) and squeeze out most of the liquid.
In a large bowl, combine the potato and onion shreds with salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and a beaten egg. I love it when the simplest ingredients produce such tasty results!
Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or skillet. When the oil is shiny and hot, add heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture into the pan, flatten with the back of the spoon and then cook for a couple of minutes (until the edges begin to turn golden and crispy). Heat for another 2 minutes and you're done!
I like to "accessorize" my potato pancakes the German way -- with sour cream and homemade apple sauce. They're pretty darn tasty, though, on their own.
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1 pound of potatoes (~1 large baking potato -- or, in my case - 3 small potatoes)
1 small onion (or half a regular sized onion)
1-2 Tbsp of breadcrumbs or flour
1 tsp of salt
several "cranks" of freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
vegetable oil, for frying
This recipe can be easily doubled for larger batches! If you follow this ratio and recipe, you should end up with about 12 potato pancakes.
Peel and shred the potatoes. (Since I was using fresh potatoes with thin skins, I didn't peel them this time, but I normally do.) I like to slice the potatoes lengthwise and pop them into my food processor with the shredder attachment. This create long strands in a snap. I also throw in the onion and let the processor shred that too. If you don't have a food processor, you can shred the potatoes by hand and dice the onion.
Gather the potato/onion mixture into a cheesecloth or dish cloth (just be warned: the potatoes may oxidize and turn your towel brown). Twist the towel and strain out most of the liquid from the potatoes.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onion, beaten egg, bread crumbs and salt + pepper. Stir it around a bit, until the potato shreds are completely coated.
Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of the oil into a large, heavy pan on the stove. When the oil is shiny and hot, add heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture into the pan, flatten with the back of the spoon and then cook for a couple of minutes (until the edges begin to turn golden and crispy). Flip the pancakes and heat for another 2 minutes until both sides are golden brown.
Since you make these in batches, I usually keep the oven warm at 325 degrees. When I take a batch off the stove, I transfer them to a cookie sheet, lined with a double layer of paper towels, and keep them warm in the oven.
You will likely need to add another tablespoon of oil to your pan before each additional batch.
Serve these warm, crunchy treats with with sour cream and apple sauce.