Anyone who has attended a luncheon after a funeral in Minnesota or North Dakota knows that the chances of sampling a hotdish or two is highly likely.
In fact, it’s not unusual for hotdish — or casserole in you’re from elsewhere — to be the main course at most church functions at which food is served. I thought about this the other day after reading a Facebook post from a friend, Kathleen Shea Aregood.
Kathleen, who a few years ago moved to North Dakota from the Philadelphia area with her husband, Rich, is a journalist who now does staff developmen consulting work in areas of writing, reporting, story development and news judgment.
When she was consulting at the Herald, we often talked about recipes, so it wasn’t unusual to see a post about food. This post, however, caught my eye, since she was disclosing to her Nodak friends that her hotdish for a church annual did not contain condensed soup. (I think it contained a homemade sherry mushroom cream sauce.)
Well, I probably would have thought it interesting anyway, since hotdish is a favorite of mine. But I bet there are quite a few area residents who would find it hard to fathom a hotdish without some sort of canned soup.
I haven’t gotten around to asking Kathleen for her recipe, but here’s one for a tater tot hotdish that many readers probably have sampled at a church function or at home.
And yes, it does contain a can of condensed soup, cream of mushroom to be exact.
Tater Tot Hotdish
1 pound ground beef
1 1-pound package tater tots
2 10-ounce cans condensed cream of mushroom soup (or 3 cans if you want it extra creamy)
1 or 2 14-ounce cans vegetables (whole-kernel corn, green beans, etc.)
Onion and garlic powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While the oven is preheating, brown the ground beef (seasoning to taste as you cook) and drain off the grease.
Spread the beef in the bottom of a 2- to 2½-quart baking dish.
Drain the liquid off the vegetables and spread them over the meat.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the cans of soup over the top of the vegetables and meat. Use the soup as is, straight from the can. Do not mix it with anything.
Arrange a layer of tater tots over the top of that.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
Top with your favorite variety of shredded cheese as you serve.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 659 calories, 57 perce t of calories from fat, 42.2 grams fat (13.7 grams saturated), 77.1 milligrams cholesterol, 1,624.1 milligrams sodium, 43.6 grams carbohydrates, 5.1 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams sugars, 26.5 grams protein.