We have spent the past few weeks in New Orleans (in spirit) covering the Sazerac and now it is time to come on back home to the upper midwest. The almighty hotdish has ruled supreme on dining room tables across Minnesota and North Dakota for many years. I have my memories of this dish and I think that almost everybody with origins in the area has their own memories of this classic dish. Some probably are pretty bad, but some can be really good. Leave your hoity-toity pretension at the door while we take the next few weeks and celebrate hotdish.
What About Hotdish?
There is plenty to talk about. Maybe some recipes call for a bunch of cans plopped into a casserole dish and baked to a crisp, but that is not what I am going for with this hotdish series. Sure, we cannot cover this dish without talking about the canned beast, but I postulate that there is something beautiful in there as well.
Nostalgia Eating and Hotdish
Comfort food and nostalgia eating are what hotdish is to me. It brings back memories of things my family may have cooked for me and meals that were made for me in college. There are plenty of people who will raise their noses at meals like the hotdish and that is fine, but not in my kitchen. If you only eat fine dining dishes and pate infused foam is a staple on your dining table, cool. I’d try that, as well. I don’t need to wait for an Anthony Bourdain or celebrity chef to tell me what tastes great or what is worth eating.
While I am not going to try and make your grandma’s hotdish, I believe there is something in hotdish worth exploring and eating. It is worth looking into the history of this dish and seeing if we can’t uncover the spirit of the hotdish and try to make the best hotdish we can!
What We Will Cover
This is a journey that is not solidified in stone, but I have a pretty good idea of the things I want to talk about with hotdish. First, I want to define what a hotdish even is and what makes it different than a casserole. We will look at some great hotdish recipes from around the internet. We will look into the history and origins of the hotdish. There will be a close look at the individual elements of a hotdish and see if we can’t pick some great elements of this dish. Then, of course, we will look at some recipes. I suspect we might try to make our own tater tots for a hotdish and perhaps a cream of mushroom soup.
If you are interested in learning along with me, sign up to get my posts sent to your via email. I hope we have a lot of fun on this hotdish journey!
Here is a list of links in this deep dive.
- We looked at several hotdish and casserole recipes from around the internet. Boy, there were some good flavors in this post.
- There was a stab at defining hotdish and separating it from what a casserole is. There is a difference.
- We looked at the history of hotdish and how it evolved into the comfort food Midwesterners know today.
- There was a close look at the elements that make up a hotdish
- We made some super tasty tater tots from scratch.
- We also made some cream of mushroom soup that I absolutely adore. This dish has been to our regular rotation of meals.
- C. W. Anderson is credited with having the first printed hotdish recipe. We made it!
- Another Midwest hotdish classic, the Chow Mein hotdish was made.
- Using our homemade tater tots and cream of mushroom soup, we made a fresh, from scratch, tater tot hotdish.
- Finally, our wrap up post!