Spring is finally springing in Wisconsin. Another hibernation season is almost over. No more snow, and therefore a lack of weather that as Wisconsinites I think we get a bit tired of. This means a new menu comes out around this time of year, but to put an end to the season, I wanted to make a Minnesota Hot Dish for my wife as she was craving a warm and comforting casserole. That’s when the hot dish recipe came into play.
If you are unfamiliar with hot dish, it is basically classified as the state recipe of Minnesota, a place where I need to frequent more often. Minnesota hot dish is essentially a casserole. You can hot dish all kinds of things, but the standard is a mix of vegetables, cream of something soup, whatever protein you chose, and topped with tater tots. Yes, tater tots. It is baked for about a hour, cooled slightly, and served. It’s pure comfort, and super easy to put together.
Let’s get started.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup (you can sub other cream of soups if desired)
- 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck, cooked and fat strained
- 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, green beans, peas)
- 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
- 1 bag frozen tater tots
- salt to taste
- lots of cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray or lightly butter the dish.
While the oven preheats, heat a skillet on medium-high heat.
Add in the oil, then toss in the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until softened, stirring along the way. Once softened, add in the ground beef. Break this up and cook, stirring along the way, for about 10 minutes or until fully cooked. Strain any excess fat.
Add in the frozen vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Stir until the veggies are lightly softened. The remaining cook will occur in the oven.
Add in the cream of soup and give the mixture a good mix to soften out the soup.
Now it’s time to layer the casserole.
Add the mixture to a casserole dish. Top with the monterey jack cheese to fully coat. This gives a nice chewy texture. Pour on the frozen tater tots and lay them evenly over the mixture.
Cook, uncovered in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, checking about 50 minutes into the bake.
Once the tots are nice and golden and the soup and cheese mix and nice and bubbly, remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes or so. It will be ripping hot.
Use a sturdy spatula and cut into squares. Dig in, don’t talk, and enjoy. Until another casserole season. Hope you all enjoy!