Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

By Stacie Morgan, December 3, 2015, Recipes

Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.

Happy Holidays, everyone! This week’s energy saving recipe is a beginner’s guide to making latkes, also known as potato pancakes. This is a classic comfort food often served during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

What could be better than quick-fried potatoes & cheese?

One key tip when making any type of potato pancakes: Make sure the oil in your pan is not too hot. I recommend using a thermometer to keep the oil around 360° degrees Fahrenheit (182° Celsius). If the oil is too hot, the outside of the latkes will get overcooked, while the middle will not be done. If the oil is not hot enough, the latkes will be greasy and take too long to fry up.

There are two methods for cooking your potato pancakes:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat on a bigger stove burner and use a thermometer to make sure the oil is the proper temperature.
  2. Use a plug-in deep fryer, as this can be a helpful low-energy-use kitchen appliance. Just be sure to observe all possible safety protocols.

I regularly enjoy traditional potato and onion latkes served with sour cream and applesauce at friend’s houses for Hanukkah. But there are many variations of latkes you can make, so feel free to get creative with the ingredients and flavors.

Today’s recipe is for cheesy Cajun latkes which is my favorite twist on this classic dish. To save energy and time, I use a bag of pre-shredded potatoes from the grocery store typically used for hash browns.  This saves energy since I don’t have to run the food processor, and it saves time since I don’t have to spend thirty minutes hand-shredding potatoes and squeezing them to take all the excess water out.

With any luck, this easy and energy saving potato pancake recipe may become a new holiday favorite for your family.

Cheesy Cajun Spiced Potato Pancakes

Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

It all starts with classic ingredients.

  • 1 Bag hash brown style shredded potatoes (approx. 4 cups)
  • 2/3 c. Medium cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ c. Sweet bulb onion (white part), shredded
  • ¼ c. Sweet bulb onion (green part), finely diced
  • ¼ c. Green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tsp.  Garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • ½ tsp. Onion powder
  • ½ tsp. Celery salt
  • Sour cream for topping
  • 3/4 c. Canola oil for frying
  • Green Tabasco hot sauce for topping

Directions:

1) Take shredded potatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl. Pat them dry with a paper towel to make sure as much water as possible is removed.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

All it takes is a hint of bell pepper to ramp up the flavor in your latkes.

2) Place the finely diced green bell pepper in a microwave-safe bowl with a couple tablespoons of water and microwave the bell pepper for 1 to 2 minutes. This softens the bell pepper so it will cook along with the potatoes.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

Getting everything mixed evenly is key to ensuring your potato pancakes fry properly.

3) Add all the ingredients listed except for the oil and sour cream in with the potatoes and mix them together well.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

Consistent patty formation = Consistent cooking.

4) Form the mixture into pancake shapes as shown in photos.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

Get to fryin’!

5) Heat oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet or skillet safe for pan frying 360° degrees Fahrenheit (182° Celsius).

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

We certainly recommend draining off any excess oil before serving.

6) Fry potato pancakes 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towels when done.

7) Serve topped with sour cream and extra diced green onion as a garnish.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cheesy Cajun-Spiced Potato Pancakes

You are now entering Yum Town!

For an optional twist, add some of the Cajun seasoning to the sour cream, top the latkes with some green tabasco hot sauce, or even sprinkle a little extra shredded cheese to melt on top.

Enjoy this week’s delicious latke recipe, and I will see you next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts recipe to help reduce your energy use!

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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