- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Latkes aren’t all that difficult to make, but it’s always nice to amp the flavor and trim some time where you can.

In this easy rethinking of the Hanukkah staple, you won’t need to break out the food processor or bloody your knuckles to grate the potatoes. A bag of frozen hash browns (which are just grated and frozen potatoes) enables you to skip that step.

To add flavor, the hash browns are blended with onions and mushrooms that are sauteed slowly until browned. Some thyme, smoked paprika and garlic powder also are added, but you could substitute whatever seasonings you prefer.

If you’d rather not fry, you also could bake these latkes. Just scoop the mixture into pancakes on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until crisp on the bottom. Flip and cook until evenly browned.

For a tasty sauce for these (or any) latkes, mix 1/2 cup of sour cream with some minced garlic, a splash of lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper.

Easy sauteed mushroom and onion latkes

From start to finish, this recipe takes 30 minutes. Makes 8 latkes.

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups sliced button mushrooms

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 cups frozen hash browns, thawed and gently squeezed to extract excess water

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Canola oil, for frying

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and onion, then saute for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are well-browned and the skillet is mostly dry. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the hash browns, egg, thyme, paprika and garlic powder, then mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add about 1/4 cup of the hash-brown mixture. Use a spatula to flatten into a pancake. Cook until browned on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining mixture, adding oil to the pan as needed.

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