Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tater Tot Hotdish

Serves 6 to 8

Be sure to buy the cylinder-shaped frozen tater tots (not crispy crowns or coins). Do not thaw the tots or the vegetables; they go into the hotdish frozen. For the best browned and crunchy tater tots, bake in a 13 by 9-inch Pyrex dish (deeper dishes inhibit browning). Don’t be tempted to turn on your broiler; Pyrex cannot withstand the broiler’s direct heat. Depending on the dish, you may have about 1 cup of tater tots leftover. Serve with ketchup.

1½ pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole milk
1½ cups chicken broth
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (1½ cups)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 (2-pound) bag frozen tater tots

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Cook beef, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until nearly all liquid has evaporated, 25 to 28 minutes, breaking up beef with spoon.

2. Stir in flour until no dry spots remain and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk and broth, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in Parmesan. Transfer to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

3. Sprinkle peas and corn evenly over beef mixture. Lightly place tater tots in even layer over top, but do not press into mixture (you may have extra). Bake until tater tots are deep golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 38 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead

Hotdish can be prepared through step 2: Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, cover with aluminum foil and bake until hot in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove foil, stir, sprinkle evenly with peas and corn, place tater tots on top, and bake as directed in step 3.

NOTES: This is a test recipe.

  • I made a half batch with a pound of hamburger.
  • Used dried thyme instead of fresh
  • Missed the direction to layer the veggies (and I mixed them into the meat mixture).
  • We all liked it a lot!  The sauce is much better than canned soup and there are none of those nasty little carrot cubes.  I'd make it again.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Chewy Italian Rolls

1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

biga (from above)
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast


  • To make the biga: Mix all of the ingredients until well blended. Cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours, until the mixture is very bubbly.
  • To make the dough: Mix the biga with the remaining ingredients for 2 to 4 minutes, using an electric mixer set on slow speed. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Add additional water or flour if necessary.
  • Let the dough rise in a greased bowl, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, until very puffy.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and shape it into a 6" x 12" rectangle. Using a bench knife or pizza wheel, cut out eight 3" square rolls. Place the rolls, floured side up, onto parchment paper. Let them rise for about 45 minutes, lightly covered, until they're puffy.
  • Place a baking stone in the top third of your oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Bake the rolls for 13 to 15 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
  • Yield: 8 rolls.
  • Outstanding texture!  Well worth the wait.
  • I'd cut into 12 instead of 8 next time.  They're big enough that we're cutting them in half for a reasonable serving anyway.