spring planting started yesterday and all i can think about is how grateful i am for the world synchronized skating championship online webcast. hehe. oops? i know, i should be celebrating spring planting (i am! here, have a cake!) but, like, any other time, i probably would have been a little salty if eggboy had tout à coup called way past dinner time to say that it would be another many hours before pizza o'clock, and last night it was received with something more to the effect of, ok the entirety of team russia 2 is dressed like black swan, there are tiaras, they're about to swizzle, g'bye.
is this what being a farm wife is???
oh right! that and planning dinners that last for a long while on the stove or in the oven for the unpredictable nature of "dinnertime during farming season." we learned how to do that last year though, during the great sugar beet harvest shakshuka slow-poach showdown. whatever that means. now it's just a matter of getting back into the swing of things and not making delicate time-sensitive food like soufflés or al dente noodles.
i know, i don't even make soufflés or al dente noodles during non-farming season. but you know what i mean.
so i figured it was high a time as any to put my first tater tot hotdish recipe out into the world!
omg tots omg tots.
but let me tell you about 1980s upper midwest church cookbooks and tater tot hotdish: they are married. tater tot hotdish is quintessential comfort food for eggboy and eggdad and egggrandma. tater tot hotdish : eggdad :: mum's mac and cheese : me. it's a staple at potlucks and you're not a minnesotan until you can properly apply a layer of tater tots to a 9 X 13 casserole dish of creamed soup.
let's review our hotdish definition: a meat, a creamed soup, a vegetable, and a starch, dumped together and baked until hot. typically a tater tot hotdish is hamburger meat, cream of something (mushroom?) soup, and peas or green beans under a bed of store-bought tater tots. mine is inspired by chicken pot pie: chicken, béchamel, and vegetables.
and thyme. and miniature. and yes, store-bought tater tots, for now.
tater tot chicken pot hotdish
makes 4-5 servings
2 tb unsalted butter (or olive oil)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
optional: other chopped sturdy veggies! celery, potatoes, and broccoli would all be great
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 c whole or 2% milk
enough chicken bouillon for 2 c liquid*
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh or breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c frozen peas
1/4 t dried thyme
optional: other herbs! rosemary and parsley are nice!
frozen tater tots! about a pound of them.
preheat oven to 400.
in a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the onion, carrots, and any other veggies, stirring until soft, 7-10 minutes. stir in the flour so that it gets evenly distributed. add 1 cup of the milk, stirring until thickened, and then add the second cup, stirring until thickened.
add the bouillon, chicken, peas, thyme, any other herbs you’d like, and pepper, and simmer, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked. taste the mixture and adjust seasonings, if desired.
transfer the mixture to a 2-2 1/2 quart casserole dish or 4-5 mini cocottes--and then cover with tater tots.
bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tots are golden brown.
let cool slightly and enjoy!