Some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten were not made from gourmet ingredients or plucked from the mind of some famous chef. Growing up my family didn’t have much money, but what was lacking in funds was made up for by my mother’s ability to transform a humble pile of ingredients into something you always wanted seconds of.
She would often reassemble leftovers from the week into a new meal as if by magic and one of my family’s favorite of these dishes was her leftover mashed potato pancakes. This recipe for frugal fritters is very much like her recipe, with a few tweaks here and there.
The beauty of a recipe like this one is that you can change it in infinite ways to suit your family. For this one we used leftover crumbled sausage, leftover mashed potatoes, and peas. But, you can use any number of substitutions. Instead of sausage you can use leftover crisp bacon (chopped finely) or some hamburger that didn’t get eaten yet.
You could leave out the peas and the meat and add in Mexican cheese and pickled jalapeños for Tex-Mex fritters. The usual at our house was to make these with just a little cheese in them and some garlic powder and they were perfect.
The main ingredients for this recipe are the leftover mashed potatoes and the eggs to bind them together. Once you combine these ingredients with the rest of the filling elements form the mixture into patties. Then coat in the breadcrumbs and heat the oil.
To avoid burning these fritters make sure to keep your heat source on low while these are frying. Otherwise you can end up with melted patties that are black on the outside. The slow frying helps to make them a little firmer so that you can then lift them out of the pan without a mess.
You can serve these with ketchup, salsa, or any other sauce that takes your fancy. It’s a great way to use up leftovers and it’s such a flexible recipe that you can customize with whatever you have on hand. And, no matter how you make this the crisp outside and tender, melt-in-your mouth filling is bound to make these thrifty potato pancakes a hit at dinner.
Makes 12-16 fritters
15m prep time
35m cook time
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley leaves, crushed
- 1 cup leftover cooked meat, chopped finely (sausage, ground beef, corned beef, diced ham, or bacon are ideal)
- 1/2 cup cooked peas or other leftover vegetable
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup plain, dried bread crumbs
- 4 Tbsp. canola oil, plus extra for onions
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sauté onions in a little oil over medium heat until just beginning to turn translucent. Remove from pan and then wipe the pan clean.
- In a large bowl combine eggs with potatoes, parsley, meat, peas, and onion.
- Scoop out golf ball sized portions of the potato mixture. Flatten with hands into patty shapes. Pour breadcrumbs onto a plate. Place patties on breadcrumbs and turn to coat evenly, pressing the breadcrumbs into the patties.
- Melt butter together with oil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and place in fritters 4 at a time. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Remove fritters to paper towel lined plate to drain. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
Recipe adapted from Comfort Cooked Adventures.