No-Can Tater Tot Hotdish
Serves 9-12 (depending on hunger levels & how blustery it is outside)
This recipe comes from Land of 10,000 Plates by Patrice Johnson, one of the featured books from our Books for Blizzards segment in the 2020-2021 Ely Winter Times.
For the sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
2 cups whole milk, just warm
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ tsp pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
Add butter and flour to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly as butter melts and blends with four. Add mustard and continue whisking for 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk so that the mixture is completely blended. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheese and seasonings. Set aside.
For the filling:
1 Tbsp butter
10 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 medium zucchinis, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
salt & pepper
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their liquids and onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Make space in middle of skillet and add ground meat and thyme. Increase heat to cook (not steam) meat. Cook, and combine with vegetables. Add zucchini and tomato paste and mix well; cook an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
For the topping:
1 pound frozen tater tots
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease bottom and sides of a 13×9 inch (3 quart) casserole dish. Add filling and top with all but ½ cup of the sauce. Top evenly with tater tots, reserved sauce, and ½ cup of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Let hotdish stand for 10 minutes before serving.