This ubiquitous ultimate comfort food is one that you can easily find throughout the state of Minnesota, both at home kitchens and at community gatherings. It’s now so woven into the fabric of Minnesota’s social identity that yearly Hotdish competitions can be found throughout the year, and every family has a personal recipe passed down through several generations. The original versions of this dish were conceived by housewives in the 1930s who found the economics of combining canned vegetables with a protein and starch to be a more convenient way to serve their large families on a budget. Here is a classic recipe for Hotdish, although almost any vegetable, protein or starch can be substituted to make an enormous range of delicious Hotdishes.
- 2 T Olive Oil or Butter
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped
- 8oz Sliced Mushrooms
- 1 T Minced Garlic
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Lb Ground Beef (80/20 blend)
- 1 Can Sweet Corn, drained
- 1 Can Cut Green Beans, drained
- 2 10oz Cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 16oz Frozen Tater Tots (or more if needed to cover surface)
- 1 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring olive oil or butter to medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Add minced garlic and toss for 2 minutes before removing skillet from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a medium bowl. Add uncooked beef to the skillet and bring to medium heat. Using a spoon or spatula break apart the clumps of meat and stir frequently just until the meat is browned but not overcooked. Drain the meat and spread evenly over the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish. Distribute the onion/mushroom mixture evenly over top. Combine the corn and beans into your medium bowl, adding about 1 tsp Salt and ¼ tsp black pepper to taste (it’s always important to season all of your cooking components separately for even distribution of flavors). Transfer the corn/bean mixture into the dish and spread evenly to cover. Spoon the cream of mushroom over the vegetables and cover evenly. Top with one layer of tater tots to finish the build. Place (uncovered) into the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Remove Hotdish from oven, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.