Thanksgiving Leftovers: Bacon Mashed Potato Pancakes

mashed potato pancakes

I can live without mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day. With stuffing, turnips, squash, and greens, I don't event miss them. But I can't live without leftover mashed potato pancakes, the day after Thanksgiving, especially when they're studded with bits of chewy, crisp bacon.

These bacon mashed potato pancakes are easy to make, but be sure to follow these tips: Use real mashed potatoes instead of boxed; take them cold from the refrigerator before cooking, and if your mashed potatoes have a lot of moisture, say from heavy cream or milk, then you may need to add more cornstarch. When forming the pancakes, make sure they're not too soft or too thin, or they'll spread when cooking. When cooking in the hot oil, resist the temptation to flip them too early, otherwise a crunchy golden crust won't form. With salty, smoky bacon, you don't need much else for seasoning, but  feel free to experiment with spices and herbs such as minced garlic, chives, sage, parsley, and chili powder. Enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and serve either plain or with sour cream, applesauce, leftover cranberry sauce, maple syrup, salsa or hot sauce.

Bacon Mashed Potato Cakes

Makes 7 cakes

2 slices bacon

Canola oil

2 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes

4 to 5 tablespoons cornstarch

2 scallions, finely chopped, both green and white parts

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Place bacon in a skillet over medium-high and cook, flipping once or twice, until evenly browned and crisp. Remove and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Once cool, chop into small pieces.

2. Cover the bottom of a large skillet with canola oil and place over medium-high heat.

3. Place 2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, including the chopped bacon, starting with 4 tablespoons of cornstarch, and gently blend with your hands. Feel it. It should be somewhat heavy and smooth. If it's soft and sticky, then add a little more cornstarch. To make equal size pancakes, use an ice cream scoop. Then gently flatten the ball into a thick pancake. If you don't have an ice cream scoop, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup or your hands. Make sure the oil is very hot before placing the pancakes in the skillet. Once ready, cook 3 to 4 at a time, making sure to not overcrowd them. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until a golden crust forms, then flip once. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes until golden. If they're getting too dark, lower the heat. Place on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat.

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