Howdy folks, and thanks for stopping by the website. This recipe is a classic comfort food that is guaranteed to please everyone at your table. It’s one of those recipes that stretches your dollar and stuffs your belly. Even better, it’s a one-pot meal.
I’m talking about tater tot casserole. This is one of those meals I would make out on a cattle drive, probably three or four times in a three week period. My mama taught me how to take canned ingredients and make them taste delicious, and this is one of my favorite ways to do it.
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Start with the Ground Beef
Get yourself some 80/20 – that’s 80% lean meat, 20% fat – and brown it in a pre-heated Dutch oven. Season the beef with Original Seasoning or salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes, add the onion. At the very end, add the garlic.
Tip: When using fresh garlic, add at the last minute so as not to burn it and ruin the flavor.
When the meat mixture is fully cooked, drain the excess grease.
Add the Gooeyness
The part of the tater tot casserole that leaves the impression is the ooey-gooeyness. By now the meat is cooked and the grease is drained, so that means it is time to add the gooey. Start by adding the W sauce and just two drops of liquid smoke. A little goes a long way here, so be very careful. Add the diced green chilis, and stir.
Add the can of cream of mushroom soup to the casserole, or you can make homemade mushroom soup – you’ll find the recipe in this Cowboy Beef Wellington we put together a while back. Nothing will fancy up a tater tot casserole more than mushroom soup made with white wine! Stir the mushroom soup into the beef mixture well and bring to a simmer.
Cheese & Tots
My mama never did add cheese to her tater tot casserole. Sorry mama, I’m a fan of cheese. Cheddar and pepper jack go together so well and they add so much flavor to this dish. Once the cheese is added, cover the whole recipe with frozen tater tots.
If you went full on fancy and made your own mushroom soup, you might as well make homemade tater tots while you’re at it.
Golden, Crispy Tater Tot Casserole
If you’re at home, go ahead and put the casserole in the oven and cook until the cheese is bubbly and the tots on top are golden brown. If you’re outside, set your Dutch oven on a trivet surrounded by hot hardwood lump coals.
Rotate the Dutch oven over the coals about every 10 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and ready to eat. Enjoy!
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Tater Tot Casserole – Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 2 pounds ground beef 80/20
- 1 white onion diced
- 2 tbsp Kent Rollins' Original Seasoning, divided or seasoned salt of your suiting
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon W sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 4 ounce can diced green chilis
- 2 10.75 ounce cans mushroom soup
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 3 to 4 cups frozen tater tots
- In a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet, crumble in the ground beef and season with Kent Rollins’ Original Seasoning. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes then add in the onion and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Drain any excess grease.
- Add the butter. When it is melted, add the garlic, worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and green chilis. Mix in the mushroom soup well. Stirring frequently, cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Sprinkle the cheese over the meat mixture then top with tots. Sprinkle the tater tots with the remaining Kent Rollins' Original Seasoning.
- Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 45 minutes or until tots are brown, let cool slightly and serve