Hanukkah Potluck with the Sussmans

Celebrity Chefs, Chefs, Entertain, Holidays, Holidays, Meet, Menu Ideas

Chefs Max and Eli Sussman approach entertaining with an easy-going confidence, insisting guests care more about eating good food and having fun than which napkin holders you’re using.


We asked them to create a casual potluck menu for a Hanukkah celebration from their latest book, This Is a Cookbook. Classic fried foods get a flavor boost from unlikely additions (think salt-and-vinegar potato chips) in a festive spread perfect for sharing with friends.


Latkes with Lots of Sauces


Our Dad makes these every year on Hanukkah. And he makes a huge mess. He puts newspapers on the floor, uses every burner, and the whole house smells bad for
a week. But they are super delicious and we had to include them in our book. We make them almost every weekend. We had our Dad test the recipe.


For the lox sauce:

1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) sour cream

3 oz (90 g.) lox, diced

1 Tbs. minced fresh chives


For the applesauce:

1 cup (9 oz./280 g.) applesauce

1 Tbs. ground cinnamon

1 Tbs. light brown sugar

1 Tbs. granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground ginger


4 russet potatoes, peeled

1 yellow onion, minced

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

¹⁄4 cup (1¹⁄² oz./45 g.) plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

2 Tbs. minced fresh chives

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil for frying


1. Preheat the oven to 200ºF (95ºC). Fit a baking sheet with a wire rack and set aside.


2. To make the sauces, stir together the ingredients for each in separate small bowls. Transfer to serving dishes and refrigerate.


3. Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the potatoes into a large bowl of water. Drain the potatoes and rinse under cold running water. Drain again thoroughly, squeezing to remove as much liquid as possible. Transfer the potatoes to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to dry even further, and then place in a large bowl. Wrap the minced onion in a double thickness of paper towels, squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible, and add to the bowl. Add the eggs, flour, chives, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste and stir to mix well.


4. Pour the oil into a large frying pan to a depth of about ½ inch (12 mm)
and heat over medium heat. Using your hands, scoop up a portion of the potato mixture and shape it into a ball slightly larger than a golf ball. Flatten into a very thin pancake, still blotting with paper towels as needed to remove any remaining moisture, and place in the hot oil. Repeat to add 2 or 3 more latkes to the pan, making sure not to overlap them or crowd the pan. Cook until golden brown on the first side, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, turn the latkes and cook until golden brown on the second side, 2–3 minutes longer. Transfer to the wire rack on the baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the warm oven. Repeat to cook the remaining latkes, adding them to the oven as they are finished. When all of the latkes are cooked, serve right away with the sauces. Serves 4 to 6.


Chicken Schnitzel


Who doesn’t love chicken schnitzel? Maybe people who don’t like puppies or rainbows. I don’t know any of them and I don’t ever want to. We use salt-and-vinegar potato chips to add a nice tangy element.  –max


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz/185 g each)

3 cups (4¹⁄² oz./140 g.) packed salt-and-vinegar potato chips

2 cups (8 oz./250 g.) unseasoned dried bread crumbs

2 cups (10 oz./315 g.) all-purpose flour

4 large eggs


Canola or grapeseed oil for frying

1 Tbs. unsalted butter


1. Wrap a chicken breast half in plastic wrap and place it on a work surface. Using a rolling pin or a small, heavy frying pan, pound the chicken breast to an even thickness of about ¼ inch (6 mm). Repeat to pound the remaining breast halves.


2. Put the potato chips and bread crumbs in a food processor and pulse until finely ground and well mixed. Spread the crumb mixture on a large plate. Spread the flour on another large plate. In a wide, shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.


3. Dredge a piece of chicken in the flour, then dip into the eggs, turning to coat, and then press each side in the crumb mixture to cover completely. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat to coat the remaining chicken pieces.


4. Set up 2 large frying pans and pour oil into each to a depth of ¼ inch (6 mm). Warm the oil over medium heat, and then place 2 breaded chicken breasts in each pan and cook until golden on the first side, about 4 minutes. Add ½ Tbsp butter to each pan, let melt, and tilt the pan to distribute it evenly. Turn the chicken breasts and add more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook until golden brown on the second side and opaque throughout, about 4 minutes longer. Serve right away. Serves 4.


Beet and Yogurt Salad


This was going to be a beet carpaccio. Then we did a pig roast at Roberta’s and
Max planned out the menu. He had a ton of beets and decided to keep it simple and roast them. He threw them together with some yogurt and dill, then took a bite and said, “Well, that’s going in the book.”  –eli


2 lb. (1 kg.) beets, tops trimmed

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 lemons

1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) Greek yogurt

¹⁄4 cup (¹⁄4 oz./7 g.) minced fresh dill


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).


2. In a bowl, toss the beets with the olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Arrange the beets in a glass baking dish and pour in ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Roast until the beets are tender, about 1 hour. Test for tenderness by poking with a sharp knife or fork; if the blade or tines slide through easily, the beets are done. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then remove the skins by rubbing with a kitchen towel or paper towels. If the skins are thick and tough, you may need to use a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets into 1- to 2-inch (2.5- to 5-cm) pieces and set aside.


3. Remove the zest from both lemons and juice one. In a salad bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and half of the dill and stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the beets and stir to coat evenly. Garnish with the remaining dill and serve right away. Serves 4.


The Sussmans chose our Spiced Cider Doughnuts to finish the meal. We promise, they’re worth the effort!


See more delicious recipes from up-and-coming chef Max and Eli Sussman in our new book, This Is a Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life.

2 comments about “Hanukkah Potluck with the Sussmans

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