I have no idea what a "hot dish" is. I assumed it was just, well, a hot dish. As opposed to a cold one. I guess growing up in the household that I did means that some of the really classic American foods are actually foreign foods to me. I've recently become somewhat fascinated with the casserole, partially because J-Cat has a certain fondness for stuff mixed with cream of mushroom soup and baked. I'd never had any of it before. Seriously. I've never had that green bean casserole with the crunchy onions. Ever.
So it was strange timing that I heard not once, but at least half a dozen times in recent weeks of this mystical concoction called the Tater Tot Casserole. Could it be? It sounded both magically delicious and sickening all at the same time. What exactly is it? I was surprised to find that it was made with turkey. I don't know why I was surprised, I just was. Anyway, it was some kind of mixture of turkey meat, cream of something soup, veggies, etc., topped, of course, with frozen tater tots. And I'll tell you, the idea of this dish haunted me for weeks. It sounded scary, yet, I was inexplicably drawn to it. Tater tots! How could that be bad?!
Well, in the least, it sounded pretty bad for you. So I was happily surprised to stumble on this recipe from The Kitchen Sink, which took the classic casserole of her Minnesotan youth and reimagined it as a completely fresh, fairly healthier version. It also informed me that they call these things "hot dish" out there. Who knew? (Probably a lot of people knew).
The result? YUM. Granted, I should probably make the classic to know what this is inspired by, but as a dish unto itself, it was extremely tasty and far less guilt-inducing than it could have been. We gobbled it up heartily. Recipe after the jump:
TATER TOT(LESS) HOT DISH
From The Kitchen Sink
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced (1/4-inch dice)
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 pound ground turkey (light or dark, or a mixture of the two)
1 1/2 cups leeks, trimmed and sliced thinly into half-moons
1 cup celery, sliced thinly into half-moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
2 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a large baking dish (a gratin dish or 9×13-inch pan) and set aside.
Toss diced potatoes in 1 tablespoon of the oil and some salt and pepper, spread on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, turning halfway through. Reduce the oven heat to 350.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Add the ground turkey, a small pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until the turkey is nearly cooked through. Add the leeks, celery, garlic, celery seed, herbs de Provence and a pinch of salt and pepper; saute for several minutes until softened.
Add 1/2 cup chicken stock to the pan. Place the flour in a small bowl, and whisk in the milk. Add milk mixture to pan, stirring constantly. Gradually add remaining chicken stock; cook 8 minutes or until mixture thickens.
Pour the turkey mixture into the buttered dish. Top with the roasted potatoes and grated parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.