Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is upon us again, and with it, the opportunity to eat as many latkes and draniki as we can. If you haven’t heard of draniki, they’re a riff on the latke traditional to Belarus. Stuffed with chicken, they’re a hit in Che Fico chef David Nayfeld’s home. The Chefs’ Collective member shares his wonderful, straightforward recipe below, along with a bit about how his family celebrates this time of year. Happy Hanukkah to you and yours!
“In our home we spend the day cooking draniki together and enjoying each other’s company,” David told us. “The kids run around like psychopaths trying to decide which toy to play with, and how to barter for ones they like more than their own. For dinner, we have draniki, matzo ball soup, and usually a roasted chicken. Often we will finish the night with apple cake and singing songs while one of the grandmothers plays the piano.”
Sounds blissful to us. Here’s the recipe. (BYO piano-playing bubbe!)
Draniki is a Belarusian-style potato pancake stuffed with chicken. I originally developed this for The Inherited Plate recipe blog.
- 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
- 1 small yellow onion
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup (2 1/2 to 4 oz./75 to 125 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) ground chicken
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Sunflower oil, as needed
- For serving:
- Applesauce or preserves
- Russian sour cream
- Sliced fresh chives
Cut the potatoes and onion into chunks and grind through the smallest holes of a meat grinder into a large bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, lightly beat 4 of the eggs and add to the potato mixture along with 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) of the flour. Mix gently until blended.
If the mixture appears to have too much liquid, drain slightly until it resembles a lumpy, thick batter. As the mixture sits, the salt may extract more liquid from the potatoes, so add more flour as needed to keep that thick, lumpy texture.
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, parsley and remaining egg. Season well with salt and pepper and mix well.
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels.
In a nonstick fry pan, pour in enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan for a shallow fry. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and appears thinner.
Add 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture to the pan. Reduce the heat slightly if needed to prevent burning. Gently bring any runaway bits of potato back to the pancake with a spoon or spatula.
Make a small divot or nest in the center of the pancake, making sure not to break through the batter. Add a spoonful of the chicken mixture and press down gently with your fingers. Add some additional batter over the chicken just to coat. Cook until the pancake is fluffy and dark golden brown, then gently flip over and cook the second side until golden, gathering up the bits as you did on the first side.
Transfer the pancake to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue cooking pancakes with the remaining batter. You can use up any additional batter or chicken to fry up little katleti, or chicken patties, or vegetarian potato pancakes.
Bake the pancakes for 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer them to the paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain.
Serve with applesauce or preserves, sour cream and chives. Makes 8 to 10 draniki.
Recipe by Chef David Nayfeld