Latke Soup: A New Twist on an Old Favorite
It’s the holidays again! In our house, we’re celebrating Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. It’s another typical Jewish holiday where we celebrate “they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” As with many of our traditions, our holidays are centered around food.
The miracle of Chanukah was that one bottle of olive oil burned for eight days and nights. So we commemorate it by eating lots and lots of food fried in oil. The most famous traditional foods are latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). True, it would be healthier and more true to the miracle to celebrate by eating a salad with some olive oil drizzled on top, but that wouldn’t make me a very popular Chanukah hostess!
Both latkes and sufganiyot are, as most things fried in lots of oil are, absolutely delicious. But they’re also pretty unhealthy. What, I wondered, could I make in the spirit of Chanukah, which would also rank a bit higher on the health food scale?
So, I decided to make latke soup. I couldn’t find a recipe out there, so I had to make one up. It was so distinctive and so reminiscent of actual latkes that even my husband, without being told what I was serving him, asked immediately, “Is this latke soup?” Why yes, yes it is!
Traditional latkes are served slathered in sour cream or (for a healthier and sweeter alternative) applesauce. This soup screams out for sour cream, but that’s not an ingredient I often use. My healthier option is homemade Greek yogurt. I regularly make my own yogurt at home and strain some of it to make it a super thick and creamy, tangy and delicious (sugar free!) plain Greek yogurt. Of course, in a pinch you can always buy some in the supermarket, just check to be sure it’s the plain kind. I’m not so sure sweet yogurt would complement the soup quite as much as the tangy, sour flavor of plain yogurt does!
Try it out for yourself. It would make a great addition to a Friday night Shabbat Chanukah dinner, especially if you live in a place where it’s cold at this time of the year!
This recipe gets a nutrient boost from the fact that the skins can be left on when you grate the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Just wash them really well. Once they’re grated, your kids will never notice that the skins were left on. You should peel the apple, though, as the skin is a bit tougher and could affect the texture of the soup as you eat it.
For Working Moms
Okay, I get it, I’m a stay-at-home mum, and so while that does mean I have a lot more housework and childcare to do, it also means I have more time to spend preparing elaborate dinners. Working mums should know that this recipe really requires only about 10-15 minutes of actual hands-on time, provided you use a food processor to do your grating. Cheat by using store-bought Greek yogurt rather than making your own. Follow the tips in the instructions to cut down on preparation time even further. Use extra bits of time in the recipe to wash the dishes and do the clean-up.
2 tbsp olive oil
3 medium white/brown/yellow onions, chopped
8 medium washed potatoes, grated
2 small sweet potatoes, washed well & grated
3 medium carrots, washed well & grated
2 small green (Granny Smith) apples, peeled & grated
1.5-2 L vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste
Plain Greek yogurt
- Heat the olive oil in your pot on medium-low heat. (You could also start with a frying pan and then switch, but I prefer the easy clean-up of one-pot cooking!)
- While the olive oil is heating, chop your onions.
- Add the onions to the heated olive oil and fry them to caramelize, 5-10 minutes.
- While the onions are frying, grate your other ingredients. Add the potato to the pot and stir to fry it a bit, approximately 2 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Adjust the amount of stock you add to suit how “soupy” you prefer it to be. Turn the heat up to a boil, then keep at a simmer approximately 1/2 hour until all ingredients are cooked through.
- Add a generous dollop of Greek yogurt and serve!
- To increase the nutritional value but to keep the “latke” feel of this soup I added sweet potatoes and carrots, but feel free to add any other “grateable” veggies you have around the house – turnips, rutabagas, and zucchini would all be great additions!
- To make a sweeter soup, add a couple more apples and mix in some cinnamon or nutmeg.
Enjoy – and Happy Chanukah!