I understand now why Hot Dish is a staple in Minnesota – and I suspect many other parts of the country. I didn’t grow up on it by any means, but my man did. A transplant from Minnesota to California about 4 years ago, I have learned many things. Did you know “pop” is actually the term they use for carbonated drinks? Or that there is a supposedly edible dish called “lutefisk” which is essentially fermented, jelly like fish. Um, gross.
I have also learned about “Hot Dish” or “casseroles” as they are known in the rest of the country. Regardless of what it is called, it’s freaking delicious! Or at least this version is. The first time Bradley made it, I swooned. My best friend on the other hand literally licked the dish clean. Like absolutely no leftovers what-so-ever.
Ok, ok, so let me tell you what’s in it. Layer 1 is ground beef, then layer 2 is the veggies. If you are really lazy – as Bradley points out – you can use frozen vegetable medley…. That’s where I put my foot down. To me, fresh veggies are just as fast. I generally use whatever I have leftover or in the fridge. I used green beans, red bell pepper, onion, mushrooms and carrot in this one.
Then there are the cans of condensed soup in layer 3. Trust me, I considered using a healthier, not so processed option, but I compromised. Loads of fresh veggies under processed soup – just this once. It provides the right creamy, salty flavor. Bradley even modeled the proper soup spreading motion for me.
Next layer, #4, is tater tots. Who doesn’t love tater tots? They are some of the best “potato” options around! These get all crispy on top too! If you can find them, use sweet potato tater tots. I love those something fierce!
Last layer, after you cook it almost all the way is a thick layer of cheese. Hey! I promised a delicious hot dish, not a healthy one. So, top liberally with cheese. Bake a little longer until bubbly and hot.
So, Minnesota Hot dish is like a cheaters version of Shepard’s Pie, but still so tasty in its own right. If you don’t have a Minnesota transplanted boyfriend to make it for you, then you’re on your own. Good thing the recipe is here for you to follow. Just pretend it’s really, really cold while you’re eating it.
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef, cooked and drained
- 2 cups chopped mixed veggies, such as green beans, onion, mushrooms, carrot, bell pepper
- 2 cans (10.5 ounces each) cream of mushroom soup
- 1 bag (32 ounces) frozen tater tots
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a 13x9 inch pan with at least 2 inch sides put the ground beef in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. Top with the veggies. Spread the 2 cans of soup over the top of the veggies evenly. Top with a single layer of tater tots. (There might be some tots left in the bag, save for another use.)
- Bake for 45 minutes. Top with cheese, bake another 10 minutes or until filling and cheese is bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Optional: Par-cook the veggies in a small pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath to stop the cooking. If you don’t do this the veggies will be firmer in the final product. If you do par-cook, they will be softer.