a self sufficient side dish

So I didn’t feel like cutting up, soaking, then double frying french fries to accompany the awesome garlicky cheeseburgers I had planned for dinner so I thought I’d just take the lazy way out and buy a bag of tater tots. Those mother effers were over $4. I put them back and grumbled about it for a week then realized that once upon a time I tucked a Cook’s Country recipe for homemade tater tots into my “a good idea but I’ll probably never actually make them” files. I’ve since moved them into my “make regularly and keep frozen on hand for sudden attacks of “I need tater tots STAT” cravings” file. That’s an awkward sentence but I know you know what I mean so we’ll move on. These are so good! They’ve got that beautiful, shattery crispy crust, and a fluffy interior. Plus they’re pretty easy (if you’ve got a food processor). And I didn’t have to pay $4 for one bag. So there, overpriced grocery store tater tots. Suck on that.

Tater Tots
recipe from Cook’s Country

You Need:
2 1/2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon pepper
oil, for cooking

Whisk the 2 1/4 teaspoons of salt into 1 cup water and place it in the food processor. Add in the potatoes and whiz until the papas are coarsely ground, like 10 to 12 pulses. Drain the potatoes and press on them until they’re pretty dry. Discard the liquid and transfer the potatoes to a large, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time, until the potatoes are dry and sticky. Stir the flour and pepper into the potatoes. Spread the potato mixture onto a large piece of foil and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Push the potatoes into the center of the foil and place the whole thing in an 8×8 square baking pan. Make sure the foil is pushed into the pan evenly. Press the potato mixture evenly in the pan (spread it out until it fits the pan completely and is reasonably even.) Freeze, uncovered, about 30 minutes.

If you’re cooking them right away, a 30 minute freeze time is fine. Lift the potatoes out of the pan using the foil overhang, and cut into squares (1 1/4 inch by 1 inch pieces which ended up being 6 cuts in 1 direction, 8 cuts in the other direction). Heat your oil (the recipe says 4 cups of oil, but I’m sure I didn’t use that much) in a dutch oven until it is about 375 degrees.  Fry half the tots until golden brown and crisp. Fry the other half. Drain well, serve with ketchup!

I made these over the weekend and froze them until I was ready to use them. After the 30 minutes freeze time, I did shallow cuts the way it instructs, then left the tots in the foil. I froze them for another hour or so. I finished off the cutting with a sharp knife (and at this point the pieces just broke right off into the squares they were supposed to be in). Then I lifted the foil out of the pan, covered them with more foil, then stuffed the whole square into a freezer bag and left them in the freezer. I kept mine frozen and fried them that way and they turned out just fine.



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