During the rest of the week we dined on a steady wholesome diet of meat, vegetables, fat, and starch. Hotdish night brought all of those elements together in one baking dish. Wednesday nights my nostrils filled with the essence of SPAM and I could hardly wait to dip my fork into the scalloped potatoes (made with cream-of-something soup) that puckered all crispy and golden around the pink meat product.
Most of us who are born in the Midwest acquire a taste for hotdish. The taste, or at least the experience, defines us as natives. Never had hamburger macaroni tomato-soup hotdish? Oh you must not be from here. Not familiar with tuna peas cream-of-mushroom hotdish topped with potato chips? Your life hasn't yet begun! No hamburger wild-rice cream-of-celery hotdish in your past? I pity your ignorance.
Is our collective Midwestern reach for hotdish a gift from Scandinavian ancestors who enjoyed white unseasoned food? Or did hotdish reverence develop here because long winters necessitated preserved food? In Minnesota we are, after all, the center of canning and processing companies: General Mills, Pillsbury, Land O'Lakes, and SPAM.
The loose definition of hotdish is a casserole made with canned soup. I love hotdish, or perhaps I love the idea of hotdish. Yet, as an adult I harbor an aversion to recipes that include canned soup. Thankfully this distaste only gets in the way of my hotdish pleasure if I am making casseroles at home. To make due I've found ways around canned soup. White sauce made with roux heals a multitude of canned sins. However, if family or friends add soup to their hotdishes, who am I to judge? Pass the SPAM and potatoes, please!
Tater Tot Hotdish Pizza combines three of my favorite things in one dish: pizza, tater tot hotdish, and stroganoff. No canned soup was harmed in the making of this dish.
Tater Tot Hotdish Pizza
Serves 4 - 6
Dough for 10 to 12 inch pizza crust, uncooked
6 provolone cheese slices (about 1 ounce each)
25 tater tots, cooked according to manufacturer's instructions and halved
1/2 pound ground meat (chicken, beef, pork)
1 cup mushroom, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup yellow or green pepper, diced
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 cup green beans, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
2 green onions, diced
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheeses
Olive oil, salt, and pepper
Roll dough to very thin round and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Place provolone slices evenly across dough and dot with tater tots. Bake in 425
Cook ground meat in large saute pan and season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms just
Spread meat-veggie mixture across par-baked pizza and top with shredded cheese. Return pizza to oven and bake additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Allow pizza to rest about 5 minutes before slicing.