Monday, December 1, 2014

Potato Leek Cakes With Peas & Dill

My mother was from a small town in Pennsylvania which had a large Lithuanian population. During the summer, people loved attending the church picnics. Huge fryers cranked out endless orders of potato pancakes to hungry customers. The cakes were always served with sour cream or applesauce on the side.
This recipe is a departure from the traditional potato pancakes of my childhood. I wanted to make potato cakes that were lighter and fresher. Crisp exteriors with pillow-soft centers, they're filled with peas and leeks and lots of fresh dill. It’s a classic combo. A little cooked and crumbled bacon thrown into the batter is a delicious idea tooThey rely on frozen shredded potatoes for convenience. No deep fryer is necessary.

My neighbor and husband loved them. They're usually my first taste testers. They told me to share them with you. 

 potato leek cakes

 leek cake

Leek, Potato and Pea Cakes Recipe

Makes 18 cakes

Some notes
For a gluten free choice, swap the self rising flour for Pamela’s Gluten Free Mix.
Leeks are usually full of sand, so make sure you rinse them well.

4 large leeks, chopped and rinsed well to remove all sand
A generous handful of fresh dill, chopped
1-1/2 cups of frozen peas
4 cups of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
4 eggs
4 tablespoons of milk
1 cup of self rising flour or Pamela’s Gluten Free Mix
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil for cooking
To Serve: lemon wedges, creme fraiche, sour cream or Greek yogurt, sriracha or other hot sauce.

In a large non-stick fry pan, saute the leeks in olive oil, with some salt and pepper, until soft. Put 2 cups of the cooked leeks into a large bowl.  Add the frozen peas and stir.
Meanwhile, put the frozen shredded hash brown potatoes in the microwave. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Add them to the bowl with the leeks and peas. Let the mixture cool slightly. Then add the  dill, eggs, milk, flour,  salt and plenty of  black pepper. Stir to combine everything. The mixture will be on the thick side.
Heat a large nonstick fry pan with some olive oil. Using a tablespoon drop the batter onto the hot pan, forming fritters about 2-3 inches in diameter. Cook until golden brown on one side. Flip over using two forks or a spatula and cook until golden brown on the other side. Do not use use a spatula to press the fritters. You want them to puff up slightly while cooking. The centers should be cooked through when done. Serve with lemon wedges and sour cream.  Sriracha sauce also pairs nicely with them. 

Bon Appetit!

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