Tater Tot Hotdish is the definition of comfort food. A midwestern staple, growing up with a Minnesotan dad meant that this was a dish on frequent rotation, especially in the colder months.
Essentially, anything goes in hotdish! It’s a one-dish meal that has all the nutrients part of a hearty meal. Composed of a starch, protein and vegetable, hotdish is held together by a creamy sauce. A crowd favourite at potlucks, family reunions and funerals, hotdishes are the backbone of Minnesotan culture, alongside tuna casseroles and cheesy potatoes, of course!
If you’re thinking this looks a bit familiar, hotdish does in fact appear much like a shepherd’s pie—the only difference is that hotdish is the lazier version!
To my surprise at one of the last big grocery shops with my parents, of course my dad managed to find tater tots (Potato Pops, here in Italy!) in the frozen aisle. He made me promise that I’d make tater tot hotdish while in Italy and given that tater tots were on sale last week, the time had finally come.
While I couldn’t find canned soup, I did find packaged soup! Again, the varieties were a bit different than cream of mushroom and cream of celery, so I had to settle for porcini and asparagus soup with some fresh celery mixed in. One note is that if you have to make soup from scratch, make sure that you let it cool completely before you start mixing it with the other ingredients.
Although I was met with many diverse reactions when I first posted this recipe on Instagram, in the end this “grande schifezza” managed to win over everyone...well, almost everyone. At least it got people curious!
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Tater Tot Hotdish
* Makes 4 servings *
1 lb ground beef
1 can green beans, chopped roughly
1 can cream of celery soup
1 package of tater tots
1 can cream of mushroom soup
In a large bowl, add ground beef, green beans and cream of celery soup. Mix thoroughly and add to a casserole dish. Bake for 350°F (175°C) for 1 hour.
Remove the cooked meat mixture from the oven and line evenly with tater tots.
Pour the cream of mushroom soup over top of the tater tops and bake for 1 more hour at 350°F (175°C).
Remove from the oven and serve hot!