Hotdish is classic Minnesotan fare, composed of a few thrifty ingredients all baked up together in one dish. There are several versions, but this one comes directly from my friend Mandu in Minneapolis. Topped with crisp, golden tater tots and held together with cream of mushroom soup, it’s the perfect cold weather potluck dish.
Origins of Hotdish
From what I could find out, hotdish may have come out of the Great Depression as it used common, relatively cheap ingredients to feed quite a few people. It seems, however, that the tater tot version was not popularized until the 1950s.
Hotdish is essentially a casserole, usually consisting of canned vegetables such as green beans and/or corn, some kind of canned soup like cream of celery or mushroom, and some kind of protein (in this case ground beef.) The starch could be noodles or, like in this version, tater tots.
Apparently, every year the senators from Minnesota have a hotdish competition where they put aside politics for a moment, get in the kitchen, and have a little friendly cook-off making hotdish. I guess that’s what known as “Minnesota nice!”
Putting It All Together
One of the nice things about this recipe is that it takes hardly any time at all to put together. You fry up an onion and some ground beef with spices, and then you start layering it in your casserole dish.
First you put down the ground beef and spices, then the canned soup, some frozen or canned green beans and some canned corn. To make the dish really hold together and come alive, the last thing you’ll do will to be to add the tater tots. Yum!
I arranged them prettily by starting in the middle and creating radiating patterns out to the edges, but if you’re pressed for time you can simply dump the tots on — your hotdish will still be delicious!
Now all that’s left to do is pop it into a 400 ℉ oven. You can find detailed recipe instructions below. Happy baking!
Tater Tot Casserole
- stove top
- casserole dish
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 C. yellow onion chopped
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper freshly cracked
- 22 oz. cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken
- 11 oz. canned corn
- 8 oz. frozen sliced green beans
- 20 oz. frozen tater tots
- Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C.
- In a skillet heat oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 1-2 minutes or until they become translucent.
- Add the ground beef to the onions. Use a spatula to crumble up the beef and cook until no longer pink.
- Turn off the heat. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper.
- Add the cream of mushroom soup, canned corn, and green beans. Stir to combine.
- Pour into a buttered casserole dish.
- Top with a layer of tater tots. If you're feeling fancy arrange them in an artful pattern.
- Place the casserole into the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the tater tots are golden brown. Serve hot.