Being Norwegian, I’ll take any opportunity to cook with potatoes, as you cannot call yourself a proper Scandinavian without professing your love for this glorious vegetable in every way possible.
In one of my favorite books, “The Starch Solution”, Dr. John McDougall explains that potatoes actually are a complete food, and you can easily meet your basic nutritional needs (with the exception of B12) by eating potatoes alone. Not to mention that they are incredibly satisfying to eat, so it’s no wonder we group them in with what we call “comfort foods”.
Potatoes grow easily in the cold climate of Norway, and is also popular in other Scandinavian countries as well as Poland and Russia. People in the 19th century lived in good health eating potatoes as the primary source of nutrition, as it supplies all the essential proteins and amino acids we need. I wrote an article about the history of potatoes in Norway for the Norwegian American Weekly which also includes another recipe for potato salad that you can read here.
But back to my recipe today. With the autumn here, I have started cooking with all kinds of winter squash again, and I wanted to come up with something more creative than butternut squash soup. Not that I don’t love that dish, but as a chef and blogger, I’m looking for things that are not as common and might become my, or my reader’s new favorite. Butternut squash is great to include in your diet as it is a wonderful source of antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C, both powerful healthy food “tools” in the cold and flu season.
I ended up grating butternut squash together with a couple of russet potatoes I had lying around and made some butternut-potato cakes, or as some of you might recognize them as, latkes. Instead of the classic applesauce and sour cream (which is tasty and I love making my own applesauce from local apples right here in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York), I wanted a slightly different taste and came up with a lemon-dill yogurt sauce. Dill is a very popular herb in Norway and Scandinavian, I’ve written about dill in more detail on the blog post, you can access that post here. There are so many wonderful non-dairy yogurts out there now, from So Delicious, Stonyfield, Forager, Ripple and Kite Hill.
Try making these butternut-potato cakes if you are planning to invite people over for a cocktail party or a casual hang out with friends. They will also be perfect as an appetizer for Thanksgiving or a festive holiday gathering. I would pair these with a nice Pinot Gris from Alsace or Oregon, or if you prefer a leaner white, a Chablis or Verdejo fro Spain. I promise your guests will go back to the platter again and again as you can’t just have one!
BUTTERNUT-POTATO CAKES WITH LEMON-DILL YOGURT SAUCE
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded/scooped out and shredded
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and shredded
½ large onion, grated on a box grater, water squeezed out
½ cup /125 ml (or more) Matzo Meal or panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds mixed with 6 tbsp water
Salt, pepper to taste
neutral vegetable oil for frying
Pat the potatoes and butternut squash dry, place in a large bowl with the onion, matzo meal, baking powder and flaxseed mixture. Season generally with salt and a few cracks of black pepper.
Place a large saute pan on medium-high heat, add oil and test a small patty first and taste for seasoning.
Using a scooper or ¼ cup measure cup, for a patty and place them in the hot oil. Put in 5 or 6 at a time. Cook the cakes abut 4-5 minutes on each side until nice and golden brown. Transfer them onto a sheet tray lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Keep warm until you finish the batch.
For the Lemon-Dill Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup unsweetened, plain non-dairy yogurt (I used Kite Hill)
2 tbsp dill, chopped (or more/less, to your liking)
Juice of ½ large lemon
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt, pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and taste for seasoning. Place in fridge until ready to use.
Serve the latkes warm with the lemon-dill yogurt sauce. You can also serve them with apple sauce or vegan sour cream.