Tater tots aren't just bar food; they're great to have on hand in the freezer when you need a quick snack or an easy base for a comforting casserole. These little fried spuds are a cinch to throw in the oven or air fryer, and with a mild potato taste they can be loaded up with any number of toppings for anything from a simple appetizer to a snack for a crowd, or just a meal for one at home.
One great way to dress up a tray of frozen tater tots is with the rich, cheesy, meaty flavors of Canadian poutine. You may have tried the classic version of this popular treat before: French fries, cheese curds, and smoky brown gravy, sometimes with extras like bacon, shredded meat, or green onion, all come together to create the famous dish. Using tater tots as a base makes the dish even easier to scoop and eat, with the crispy exterior of the tater tots standing up against the wetness of the other ingredients on top.
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A Poutine How-To
Poutine may look simple, but it's deceptively difficult to get this dish right, especially if you live outside of Canada. When a recipe has so few ingredients, it's important to nail each one. Classic poutine starts with French fries, and by swapping in tater tots, this rendition is already a little unconventional.
When it comes to cheese, Canadians will emphasize the importance of sticking with the classic: Cheese curds. This isn't the block of mozzarella you can get at your local grocery store, but a specific cheese product made from solid pieces of curdled milk. They have a signature squeakiness to them that many poutine lovers adore. Get white cheese curds if you can find them; if you can't, mozzarella or a mild white cheddar will work, but it won't be exactly the same.
As for the gravy: Some recipes use a more chicken-forward gravy, while some go with beef. For a nice, rich, and dark gravy, go with a beef base. You can certainly purchase pre-made gravy at the store, but it's not too difficult to make your own gravy with beef stock, butter, flour, and seasonings.
Putting Together A Tater Tot Poutine
With all the ingredients ready to go, here's how to prepare your tater tot poutine. You can scale up or down the number of ingredients you use to make anything from a sheet tray full (perfect for parties) to a single serving.
Make the tater tots first, according to package instructions. We recommend putting your tots in an air fryer for maximum crisp, but a conventional oven also works well.
After cooking the tots, top them with the gravy and cheese. Return them to the oven or air fryer for an additional few minutes, until the toppings are warmed through. Be careful not to let anything burn.
After this, you're ready to serve. You can load your tots up with extra ingredients, such as chopped or shredded meat and sliced veggies like mushrooms or green onion — the list goes on. But this is all you need for a twist on poutine, and for a comforting snack or meal that will be ready in no time.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.