With all the ground beef I picked up at Costco over the weekend, I started thinking of things to make. Jay mentioned Tater Tot Casserole, which I haven’t done in probably a year…I like it more in the fall/winter months.
So I made it for dinner.
Until I moved to South Dakota, I’d never heard of Tater Tot Casserole before, but I gather it’s one of those Midwestern potluck staples. A former coworker gave me the recipe years ago, and I’ve tweaked it to suit my family.
For one, I’ve gotten rid of the condensed soup–Instead, these days, I make basically thick gravy. I don’t always use the same kind of cheese. I’ve tried sweet potato tots in lieu of conventional tots. I’ve used mini tots instead of regular-sized ones. I’ve even made this with chicken!
I think my favorite version is with ground beef, though.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the tater tots on a large baking sheet, and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Place them in the oven to begin cooking, while you prep the rest of the casserole.
While the tots are cooking, begin browning the ground beef in a large skillet. Add the Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and season with pepper. Once the meat is browned, place on a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
Combine the flour and melted butter together, to create a roux. Add the roux to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then slowly whisk in the beef broth. Cook until thickened. Season as necessary with salt and pepper, then add the ground beef back in.
Spread the beef and gravy mixture into the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with the shredded cheese. Remove the tater tots from the oven, and place on top of the cheese.
Cook the casserole for another 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the tots are nicely browned.