Cheesy tater tots, now? Yeah yeah new year's resolutions, I got it--everyone is on a diet....blah blah blah. Homemade cheesy tater tots will make you cheat on your new diet. That's it. LOL Kidding. I'm a foodie, it's hard for me to diet, I try I do. I doubt I will ever give up my fatty fried foods and calorie dense sweet treats. Foodie for life--word! I just have to workout more and more, and then again some more.
These fabulous cheesy tater tots I made I got inspiration from Nick over at Macheesmo (love that name). I pretty much followed his recipe, but wondered why he hadn't added cheese to the potato batter. You know? So I added cheese and did a couple other things.
So if you are looking for the BEST superbowl appetizer, oh yeah this is it. Or if you really want to make something for your friends, family or sweetheart and watch them just melt with happiness, this is it! Yes, this will impress. There is no way you can eat just 5, I mean when I made these Christmas day, they were gone in 10 minutes. That friggin good. Deep fried, crispy, cheesy, gooey, salty goodness dipped in sauces baby! Can I get an amen? Food of love people, food of friggin love.
cheesy homemade tater tots
adapted from Macheesmo
4 Russet potatoes, peeled & chopped I used 5 medium)
1 egg (beat well in a small dish)
1/2 Cup milk (I did NOT use this)
3 TB unsalted butter (I used 5 TB)
1 Cup all-purpose flour
(½ cup sharp cheddar cheese grated fine)
Salt & Pepper
2 Large bags, plain kettle cooked chips or a few cups of Panko crumbs. (I used all Panko crumbs)
Making the tots. It should be no surprise that these guys start with potatoes.
The first step for these guys is to make mashed potatoes. Now I’m not sure how they make real tater tots. I know it’s closer to a hash brown product, but mashed potatoes are a lot easier to shape and also happen to be delicious. To start, just peel and slice your potatoes.
Boil them for 10-15 minutes in salted water until the potato pieces are fork tender. Then drain them and transfer them to a bowl.
Using a fork, mush up your potatoes and let them cool for a few minutes until they are room temperature or slightly warmer. (Beat egg, well, in a small dish before adding to mix). Then add your butter, flour, egg, and (cheese). Add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Filling mixed.
To make the crunchy exterior of the tot and also give it some shape, I decided to try out two different toppings: crunched up kettle chips and Panko breadcrumbs. Both worked pretty well actually.
You cannot shape these until they are coated with the Panko crumbs. Make them into the size of a teaspoon, yes that small. Just drop a few teaspoons of mashed potatoes in your bowl of crust. Roll them around until they are coated all the way around. Then you can easily pick up each tot and shape it easily in your hand. Just roll them like you would a cookie only not as much pressure. You can try making them into a cylinder shape like Nick did. Then transfer them to a baking sheet and until ready to deep fry.
Cooking the tots. Make sure your oil is at 350 degrees before you do any type of frying. This is crucial. Once the oil reaches 350 degrees then you can start frying; do not overcrowd pan though. Unless you have a large pot you really should do semi-small batches. (I fried about 10 per batch in my 8 quart pot with about 3-4 inches of oil). They should only need about 5-7 minutes per batch. Once you scoop them out of the oil, transfer them to a paper towel and salt them immediately (I did not salt them—they really did not need it). Feel free to add whatever seasoned spices you crave. Serve with sauces--any kind would work actually. Here are a couple that I used.
horsey-blue cheese dip
3 tb of horseradish sauce
2 tb of blue cheese dressing
2 tb of Hellmans mayo
2 tb of sour cream
1 -2 ts of superfine sugar
Dashes of paprika and freshly chopped chives
ketchup with a few dashes of spicy chili oil and whatever else you desire.