Classic dishes such as brisket and latkes are wonderful, but even the hungriest families can handle them straight up only so many nights. That's why many families are selective about which nights they cook, and which nights they reinterpret the leftovers from the day before.
For Noah Bernamoff, chef and owner of the popular Mile End Jewish deli in Brooklyn, N.Y., it was his grandmother who was the holiday cooking powerhouse during his childhood in Montreal.
"Candles one, two and seven on the menorah represented the nights my grandmother made special meals," Bernamoff said, referring to the tradition of lighting candles for each night of Hanukkah. The leftovers from those meals became the building blocks of dinners for the rest of the week.
For example, potato latkes, while beloved, are as plain as a glorified piece of toast, says Bernamoff. And as such, they can be used as such to create open-faced sandwiches of sorts. Bernamoff likes to top crisped leftover latkes with such savories as reheated slices of brisket with chopped pickled vegetables for contrast.
And at his deli, Bernamoff says the latke often becomes the vehicle for other restaurant favourites, such as lox, duck pastrami or a creamier version of their house-made whitefish salad.
Hash, says Bernamoff, is another great way to turn leftovers into a quick meal. As long as you have onions and some blanched, diced or shredded potatoes, you can add almost any ingredient, such as brisket, roast veal or chicken, or even smoked fish. Crisp the mixture in a saute pan or in the oven, top with a poached or fried egg and you've turned leftovers into a deli classic.
Joan Nathan, author of "Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook," takes a different — and cross-cultural — approach to her Hanukkah leftovers. Nathan regularly takes the remainders of her roasted lamb or brisket and transforms it into a classic Bolognese sauce to serve atop pasta.
Here, we've taken shredded, cooked brisket and combined it with store-bought shredded potatoes, onions and egg whites (omitting the yolks yields crispier results) to create this latke-like Hanukkah hash. Using roasted chicken or lamb in place of the brisket works nicely, as well.
HANUKKAH HASH PATTIES (LEFTOVER BRISKET LATKES)
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Makes about 16 latkes
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup grated sweet onion
20-ounce bag fresh shredded potatoes (about 4 cups)
3/4 pound finely shredded or chopped cooked brisket
4 egg whites, beaten with a whisk until frothy
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. Set aside.
Place the grated onion on a clean dish cloth or several layers of paper towels. Gather up the edges then, over the sink, squeeze out at much liquid as possible.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the squeezed onion, the potatoes, brisket, flour mixture and egg whites. Mix well to make a batter that is loose, but holds together well, adding a bit more flour if necessary.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat about 1/2 inch of oil until a shred of potato dropped into the oil sizzles immediately. Drop the batter into the oil, 1/3 cup per patty. Flatten the patties slightly with the back of a spatula. Working in batches, fry the patties for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until browned. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve immediately. Or to re-heat, place the pancakes on a baking sheet in a 400 F oven until hot.
Nutrition information per serving: 160 calories; 45 calories from fat (28 per cent of total calories); 5 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 10 g protein; 170 mg sodium.