Latkes are great dish to serve for a winter wedding, not just weddings at Hanukkah, because they are so satisfying on a cold day. You can serve them as an appetizer or with the entree as a tasty, creative alternative to baked potato or rice.
One year I had the pleasure of making latkes for a large group of American military service members. It was during Hanukkah in one of the four years I lived in Kuwait. This was between the Gulf Wars. My husband was the U.S. Defense Department’s designated lay leader for the Jewish service people who cycled through the country, which means that I was responsible for making holiday meals and parties for the Jewish service people in my home. It was a great time, we met a lot of really great people, and I hope they’re all now safe at home enjoying the country they’ve served.
On this particular Hanukkah evening, I was rushing to get ready for a crowd of service people who were coming for a party. I was in the middle of preparing the latke batter when they called on their way over to say that instead of the seven people that were expected, they were 16 people. I would need more latkes.
I started throwing all kinds of things into the bowl to bulk up the latke mix: more potatoes, more onions, more eggs, a couple boxes of dried latke mix that family had sent from the States, ricotta cheese, sour cream, and I’m not sure what else, maybe even some cream cheese. Of course, they were amazing, but because I didn’t keep track of exactly what went in them, I would never know how to reproduce them.
It’s OK that I don’t remember, because I want to give you a non-dairy latke that you can serve with any wedding meal, including meals that include meat. And I want to give you a version that is easy to prepare and can be made a day or two before the wedding. The recipe below is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd: Recipes with a Vegetarian Emphasis for 24 or More, a book that I relied on heavily when serving large crowds in Kuwait. I raised the flavor profile a bit to create a more refined, wedding-worthy dish by adding sautéed leeks and a non-dairy sour cream with chives to serve on the side. Yum.
Recipe: Latkes for a Crowd (Parve)
Serves 24 (2 latkes per person)
- 4 ½ lbs. potatoes
- 4 lbs. onions
- 2 cups chopped leeks
- 24 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp. salt
- 1 ½ cups bread crumbs or matza meal
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
“Sour Cream” with Chives Ingredients
- 2 pints (4 cups) non-dairy sour cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
- Chop the leeks and sautée over medium heat for 3 minutes until just translucent. Remove them from the heat and put them aside.
- Grate the potatoes coarsely with a food processor or hand-held grater.
- Put the potatoes into a colander and squeeze them to eliminate excess water.
- Preheat the oven to 350º.
- Grate the onions and drain them in a colander. Squeeze out the excess water.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
- Add the potatoes, onions, leeks, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs or matzo meal. Mix well.
- Pour ¼ cup of oil into the bottom of four half-size insert pans (12½” x 10¼” x 2″) and place them in the hot oven for 5 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the hot pans. Spread the oil smoothly across the top of the batter with a spatula.
- Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until crusty and golden.
- While still hot, cut each pan into 12 latke squares.
“Sour Cream” with Chives Instructions
Make the sour cream the same day you intend to serve it. In a medium bowl mix the chopped chives into the non-dairy sour cream.
- If your serve the latkes pre-plated, put two latkes on each plate and two tablespoons of “sour cream” next to the latkes.
- If you are using a buffet, serve the “sour cream” in a bowl next to the latkes.
Make Ahead Options
You can make the latkes a day before the wedding. Cover them with foil and keep refrigerated. Reheat in 350º oven for 10-12 minutes.