lawless potato pancakes

by Patricia on September 6, 2012 · 3 comments

Post image for lawless potato pancakes

I’ve only had the last name Lawless for 1.5 years now, so I’m still getting used to cashiers and waiters saying, “Cool last name” when they see my debit card. But I have to say I really do like having it. It just sounds so… rebellious.

Anyway, I’ve been kind of obsessed with pancakes lately (nice segue, right?). I’ve been playing around with recipes for pumpkin, chocolate, and (my new favorite) oatmeal-cinnamon-apple pancakes in the last couple of weeks (all of which I’ll be sharing here over the next few weeks).

And then on one of the backburners of my mind, I’ve been thinking about family recipes… wanting to document them and try them out in my own kitchen. Stuff like my grandmother’s macaroni and cheese which I don’t even remember eating, but my Aunt Helen sent me the recipe. So, now I have to try it (there’s something about it being my grandmother’s recipe that makes it feel special and more comforting somehow).

And there’s something about being connected to the past. A thread that weaves into the present and I get to pass onto the future. I love how food is one way to preserve that connection.

And that brings me to this recipe for potato pancakes from Dan’s grandmother. Technically, I got the recipe through Dan’s sister who got it from their aunt who had to tweak and figure some things out from memory. And from there, I tinkered and measured and put together what you see here.

When I first heard about these potato pancakes, I made up this story in my head about how Dan’s frugal Irish grandmother must’ve made these pancakes for her large Irish family because they use potatoes and other inexpensive ingredients. And I made something up about the potato-Irish connection as well (cause I know Dan’s got some Irish in him).

But the truth is, his grandmother was German. Not Irish. I guess that will teach me not to make up stories before asking about the facts (or maybe not… sometimes it is fun to make up stories).

But German or Irish, this is still a Lawless family recipe (no relation to the new Shia LeBeouf movie or Xena the Warrior Princess, as far as I know).

And the truth about these pancakes is: they are delicious. Not as heavy as most potato pancakes I’ve tried (no doubt due to the blending), and not as oily either. The onion gives them a nice savory flavor which pairs well with something sweet.

Dan and I eat them with applesauce and sour cream. His aunt likes butter and maple syrup. And his cousin said they grew up eating them with butter and jam.

Whatever you top them with, these pancakes are a sweet and savory delight.

Do you have any favorite family recipes? Or a favorite kind of pancake? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Now, let’s make potato pancakes!

Chop the onion and potato.

Put them into a blender with flour, milk, egg, and salt. Blend well (it should look a little lumpy).

See… small chunkies.

Heat your pan over medium heat. My favorite pan for this kind of pancake is a 10-inch Calphalon similar to this one.

And butter it (or oil it if you prefer). I prefer a little pat of buttah swirled around to cover the pan.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan and spread it out to a thin 6-inch(-ish) pancake.

Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.

The 2nd side will look sort of like a flour tortilla when it’s done.


Potato Pancakes

(adapted from Aunt Mary’s recreation of Grandma Lawless’ recipe on Alicia’s blog)

Light, thin, savory pancakes that pair perfectly with something sweet and/or creamy (applesauce and sour cream, or butter and maple syrup, for example).

Makes about eight 6-inch pancakes

1 egg
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 to 2 1/4 cup potato, cut into a small diced potato (about 1 large potato)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

  1. Put onion, potato, egg, milk, flour, and salt into a blender. Blend until it is mostly smooth (it will look like a slightly chunky pancake batter).
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Lightly oil or butter it (I use butter for the flavor).
  3. Pour 1/4 c. batter onto skillet and use the back of your ladle/spoon/measuring cup/spatula to spread it out into a thin, (approximately) 6 inch pancake. Repeat until you’re out of batter.
  4. Serve with sour cream and applesauce, butter and maple syrup, or butter and jam.


1 Kristi September 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I’m totally going to try this! And thankfully, now I know how to slice an onion ;)

2 Patricia September 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hey Kristi! I’d love to know how you like them when you do try it! Enjoy.

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