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Hotdish is a Minnesota staple and we’re going global with it. During our trip, we’re planning on making hotdish in every country we call home. Last week, we made our first international hotdish in Wellington, New Zealand. Keep reading to find out how it went. But, first things first…
What is Hotdish?
Hotdish is a delicious, comfort food known to Minnesotans far and wide. Hotdish happens when you mix a variety of ingredients – usually including ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, canned vegetables and chow mein noodles – and bake them in a casserole pan. We’ve heard other states sometimes just call this casserole, but in the Midwest it’s known as hotdish.
According to one of our favorite books, “How to Talk Minnesotan,” hotdish:
…can grace any table. A traditional main course, hotdish is cooked and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears at family reunions and church suppers. Hotdish is constructed on a base of canned cream of mushroom soup and canned vegetables. The other ingredients are as varied as the Minnesota landscape. If you sit down to something that doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen before, it’s probably hotdish.
Why Are We Making Hotdish on the Road?
As most of you know, we are big fans of our home state, Minnesota. The perfect name for our travel blog, International Hotdish, came from incorporating our love of Minnesota and travel. Once we had the name, we knew we had to try making hotdish in the countries we visited. For one, it’d be a fun reminder of home. Also, we imagine it could turn into a fun challenge. Who knows how many of the original ingredients we’re going to be able to find in, say, Italy? Or Croatia? You can bet we’re going to find out.
Our Experience Making Hotdish in New Zealand
For our first time making hotdish in another country, we decided to stick with a classic hotdish recipe: tater tot hotdish. We followed this recipe, from Genius Kitchen with a slight modification of our own.
We were able to find all the ingredients for tater tot hotdish at our local grocery store, New World.
- 1 pound of ground beef (also known as mince in NZ)
- 20 oz of cream of mushroom soup (we even found Campbell’s!)
- 14 oz of canned veggies (we opted for corn)
- 1 package tater tots
- 1 small yellow or white onion, chopped (this is optional, we added it because we like onion)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese (pick your fav!)
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Prep a casserole dish. Since we didn’t have one, we lined a baking pan with tinfoil and greased it for easy cleanup.
- Start by chopping the onion. Our Airbnb hosts have a handy little chopper
that makes cutting up onion so easy.
- Place onion and ground beef in a frying pan on the stovetop. Cook until meat is no longer pink and onion is cooked through. Approximately 8 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and onion to the casserole dish, spreading it across the bottom of the entire pan.
- Open your canned veggies and drain out excess water. Spread vegetables over the meat/onion layer.
- Open your can of soup. Use a spatula to spread the soup over the meat, onion, and vegetables.
- Place a layer of tater tots over the top of everything. We used the whole bag.
- Bake for 50 minutes until tater tots are golden brown. Sprinkle with approximately a half a cup of shredded cheese.
- Get it on a plate and enjoy!
Making hotdish in New Zealand was easy and it tasted delicious. Scott and I really enjoyed having this carb-loaded treat on a windy Wellington day.
Where are we making hotdish next?
In December or January, we’ll try making hotdish in Australia. Do you think we’ll be able to find the ingredients? Should we try your favorite hotdish recipe this time? Leave us your thoughts and recipe links in the comments. Happy hotdish season!