Tater Tot Hot Dish is a popular food in the Great Lakes region of the USA. Ground beef, veggies, gravy, and cheese, topped with crispy potatoes: what's not to like? Most hot dish recipes rely on processed ingredients such as canned cream of mushroom soup and tater tots, but I've opted to instead make this recipe with real, whole food ingredients. The result is a delicious meal that my whole family loves.
When I first made this recipe, I used storebought tater tots, but was dissatisfied with the ingredients therein (especially the unhealthy canola oil). Since my family ended up loving this dish, I developed a way to make it without using tater tots, by substituting hash brown potatoes instead. The resulting Hash Brown and Beef Hot Dish is now a family favorite recipe.
This recipe is one of the regional recipes featured in my All Around the USA Unit Study.
Hash Brown and Beef Hot Dish
Hash brown topping*:
1 stick butter, preferably nutrient-dense butter
Two 1-pound bags of southern-style hash browns (organic hash browns have only one ingredient: potatoes)
2 Tb butter, preferably nutrient-dense butter
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces brown mushrooms, sliced
3 large carrots, chopped
1&1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably grassfed
1&1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1&1/2 cups frozen green beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup white rice flour
1&1/4 cups chicken bone broth, preferably homemade
1&1/2 cups whole milk
leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
1/8 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp dried allspice
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
Make the Hash Brown Topping:
Melt one stick of butter in a very large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the frozen hash browns and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt.
Let the hash browns cook for 7-10 minutes, until they are starting to crisp up. Then flip/stir the hash browns. A bamboo spatula works well for this. To make the hash browns crispy, make sure you do not stir them much.
Continue to stir them only occasionally, until they are well-crisped on all sides.
Turn off heat and set aside.
Make the Beef and Vegetable Filling:
Melt 2 Tb of butter in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and saute for about 10 minutes. It is fine if the onion starts to get some brown, caramelized color, but adjust the heat as necessary if the skillet is getting too hot.
In the meantime, prepare the carrots and mushrooms.
Add the mushrooms and carrots to the onions. Crumble the ground beef into the skillet and sprinkle with 1&1/2 Tb of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. (Use less salt if your chicken broth is salted. My homemade chicken broth is unsalted.) Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure that the ground beef and veggies are cooking evenly.
In the meantime, mince the garlic.
Combine the molasses, thyme leaves, soy sauce, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, and allspice in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add the broth and milk, and stir it all together.
Sprinkle the garlic and rice flour into the beef and vegetable mixture. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, just until the garlic is fragrant.
Stir the frozen green beans into the beef and vegetable mixture. Then pour in the seasoned broth and milk mixture. Stir well to make sure everything is well-combined.
Bring the beef and vegetable mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes, until the sauce has thickened up nicely. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.
In the meantime, shred the cheddar cheese and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Assemble the Hash Brown Hot Dish:
Pour the beef and vegetable mixture into a 9X13 glass baking dish.
Sprinkle the optional peas on top.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the meat and vegetables.
Spread the crispy hash browns over the top of it all.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until everything is bubbling and hot.
Remove from the oven, serve, and enjoy! Leftovers freeze well for easy future meals.
*Feel free to substitute storebought Tater Tots for the Hash Brown Topping, if desired. If so, skip the steps for preparing the hash brown topping, and just top the filling with the tater tots before baking.
This post is part of Weekend Potluck!
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