February 13, 2009

Tater Tot Turkey Casserole

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“All I have to say about this recipe,” says Casserole Crazy author and my girl crush, Emily Farris “is don’t knock it till you try it.” Are you guys knocking it? Cause I’m all on-board. In fact, I’m about to run out and buy another can of cream of mushroom soup right this minute.

And if there were ever a time for the casserole to get another moment in the sun, this is it. Although if you asked Emily, she would probably counter, √† la LL Cool J, “don’t call it a comeback.” The casserole, after all, has been there all along, comfy in its layers of cheese and assorted surprises, on the doorsteps of new neighbors and sick friends, at potlucks and church suppers. And why, suggests Emily, should it not be in your oven right now?

Until Wednesday night, I don’t think I had had a tater tot since “tater tot day” in my elementary school cafeteria. They were the rock stars of the steam table — nearly as popular as the chocolate pie — and though it’s been years, the taters atop this casserole were every bit as delicious as I remember (crunchy on the outside, soft and potatoey on the inside). As an added bonus, I think Sebastian fell a little bit more in love with me when he saw this coming out of the oven.

As we’ve discussed, there are some nights (especially in February) when you just want comfort food. Nigella Lawson likes to eat a bowl of ground beef topped with cheddar cheese when she needs some comforting. This can be our American version of that: creamy ground turkey topped with fried potatoes.

I ate the leftovers of this last night while watching Sex and the City reruns. In short, I’ll be making casseroles a lot more often now.

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Tater Tot Turkey Casserole
Serves 4
from Casserole Crazy

1/2 cup celery slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
4 cups frozen tater tots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium pan, sauté the celery in the olive oil over low heat until softened. Add the turkey and garlic. When the turkey is cooked through, add the mushroom soup.

Transfer the whole concoction to a greased 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Add the tater tots on top.

Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes.

Serve with a delightfully tacky cheap beer [I had Bud Lite, and it was perfection.]

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Comments

  • EB: Perfect timing! I had a conversation with a friend yesterday wherein he shared his perfectly punck-rock favorite tator-tot recipe with me. Shhh don’t tell him but I think this beats “Tots of Fire”5 years ago

  • haha. Best name for a dish ever.5 years ago

  • Sara Rose: I actually kind of love tator tots. Toss them with some chili powder, cumin, and garlic salt before you bake or fry them. serve them with ranch. Trashy perfection. I also love Nolan’s totally spicy, fattening hash browns (use frozen in a bag) with a bunch of chipotle tobasco and sour cream, or again RANCH. Yum.5 years ago

  • Anticiplate: This is the first meal my husband cooked for me when we first started dating. He puts corn in his! Perfect memory for a Valentine’s day.5 years ago

  • Jenifer: i actually have a different version. my layers are: (bottom to top) beef/turkey w/ mushroom soup, corn kernels, tator tots and then cheese.5 years ago

  • Sara Rose: Come to think of it, I’ve had it with cheese too. Velveeta.5 years ago

  • Sara Rose, Nolan sounds like a gifted man in the kitchen, and that sounds like a terrific hangover cure.

    Anticiplate, I hear you! One of the first meals Sebastian cooked me for was something out of his Campbell’s Soup cookbook. :)

    Jenifer & Sara Rose, Wow, cheese on top of this adds a whole new layer of (artery-clogging) awesomeness!5 years ago

  • Sara Rose: On top of Nolan’s hash browns- if you want a REAL hangover cure, you need to have a couple over-easy eggs. Fry it up with some bacon fat. He is a gifted man in the kitchen. One time I asked him to chop the parsley for some soup I was making and he got out green onions and chopped them instead.5 years ago

  • Ann: oooh i wonder what would be a good vegetarian substitute for turkey…5 years ago

  • Karen: Come on now. When I read some of the comments saying that this is not healthy or yucky, all I can think is that those comments were made by the type of woman that when my daughter and I see her on the street we say, Hey b**ch—Eat a cookie-will ya! Of course this isn’t a healthy recipe and its not billed as being one-its strictly comfort food for those that don’t have to purge everytime after eating. Just enjoy it.5 years ago

  • Pattie: I just made this recipe. While at the store, I couldn’t remember what vegetable you had used, so I thought, what goes with turkey and cream of mushroom soup? GREEN BEANS! I added the frozen green beans while sauteing the turkey. I also threw in a handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. SO YUMMY!5 years ago

  • Oh Pattie, that sounds like a really brilliant adaptation. Maybe even better than the original!5 years ago

  • Sophie: Hi, this dish looks so appetizing! I love your blog! What are tater tots? In Belgium, we do not know them!5 years ago

  • Anna: Actually, growing up in the northern midwest, tater tot hotdish was a staple–my family makes it either with green beans or “mixed vegetables”.5 years ago

  • Karen: Last night before my 12 year old went to bed I told him I’d be making Tater Tot Casserole today for dinner. This morning on the way to school he said he dreams of tater tots all night. I can’t wait to try this recipe, if only to ensure more sweet (salty?) dreams!5 years ago

  • Sophie, Tater tots are one of the many ways we fry potatoes in the US. Never known anyone to make them from scratch (speak up if you do!), but you can buy them in the freezer section of the grocery store and at some drive-ins and fairs.

    Anna, Yeah for hot dish!

    Karen, I love this story. How completely sweet and adorable. I hope it lives up to your 12 year olds dreams!5 years ago

  • sarah: i don’t care what anyone says! i love this stuff! i grew up on it. my friend and i lovingly refer to it as “white trash-a-rol”.5 years ago

  • Dana: I made this recipe. It was a great success. We loved it. It was so easy to make and quick. We had leftovers too.
    Thanks for the idea!4 years ago

  • Sarah J: i have so much love for this. alton brown made a sexed up version w/ bacon and blue cheese but this recipe is right at my level right now. also see chili pie made w/ jiffy cornbread mix and salsa ala real simple.3 years ago

  • This Too « Pink of Perfection: [...] as if happiness could really be found in a succulent turkey and rich, golden gravy. I love a turkey dinner as much as the next person, but come [...]1 year ago

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