Minnesota hotdish

Today, Alex [Alessandro Michelangelo] Jaker (posting from Toronto) on Facebook:

So unfortunately I can’t go home and visit my family in Minnesota 🚗🚗🚗🛣🏡 because of the virus, so I decided to just go ahead and make my own hotdish 🍄🥕🍅.

… Although actually, it’s sort of a hybrid between hotdish and lasagna 🍅🧀🇮🇹.

(#1) Jaker Hotdish (photo from the author)

… [about hotdish] Apparently it is what people from other places call a “casserole”. In the present case, I used ground mutton 🐑, onions, celery, carrots 🥕, a leek, tomatoes 🍅, mushrooms, a can of cream of mushroom soup 🥫, parmesan cheese 🧀, and noodles. And beans. First stir fry all the ingredients except the noodles, and boil the noodles separately, then combine into a baking dish and bake for ~40 minutes.

(Minnesota Hotdish became widely familiar thanks to its frequent appearance on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion. From Minnesota Public Radio.)

My response to Alex:

This is your eccentric (but quite attractive) adaptation of the classic hotdish casserole. To start with, “ground mutton” and “stir fry” don’t belong in a hotdish recipe, but you do have the canonical canned soup.

From Wikipedia:

(#2) A tater tot hotdish (Wikipedia illustration)

A hotdish is a casserole that typically contains a starch, a meat, and a canned or frozen vegetable mixed with canned soup. The dish is usually made with ground beef over tater tots with cream of mushroom soup, but some versions in Minnesota use the official state grain wild rice, or even macaroni, in place of the taters. [AZ: Variants with turkey as the meat are common, but I have also seen versions with chicken or ham.] The dish originates in the Upper Midwest region of the United States, where it remains popular, particularly in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Hotdish is cooked in a single baking dish, and served hot (per its name). It commonly appears at communal gatherings such as family reunions, potlucks and church suppers.

Odds and ends, for readers who might not be familiar with some of the Americana in all this.

on 4/23/12, in “Cartoon potatoes”, on a Rhymes With Orange cartoon about the portmanteau dictatortots, in a section on Tater Tots, material from Wikipedia:

Tater Tots, a registered trademark for a commercial form of hash browns made by Ore-Ida [created in 1953, first available in stores in 1956], are a side-dish made from deep-fried, grated potatoes. Tater Tots are widely recognized by their crispness, cylindrical shape and small size.

Tater Tots are commonly found in the U.S. in cafeterias and school lunch-counters, as well as the supermarket frozen food aisle and some fast food restaurants.

on 2/4/19, in “Cowboy casserole”, with a section on the casserole:

Putting the schema for cowboy food together with the schema for casseroles [supplied in the posting] allows for a wide spectrum of things that might count as a cowboy casserole, and actual recipes seem to come from all over this spectrum.

The compound hotdish. Formally Adj + N, but with compound (first-element) accent, as in whitefish, blackbird, hotplate, shortcut, etc. Obviously quite specialized semantically: hotdish is indeed a dish à la this NOAD entry:

noun dish: 1… [c] a particular variety or preparation of food served as part of a meal: fresh fish dishes | pasta was served as a main dish.

And it’s served hot. But that barely scratches the surface.

What’s more, unlike whitefish, blackbird, hotplate, and shortcut, hotdish is a M[ass] N, not C[ount]: it occurs in the sg without a determiner (compare a whitefish / blackbird / hotplate / shortcut, but not, except in special circumstances, *a hotdish) and has no natural pl (compare two whitefish / blackbirds / hotplates / shortcuts, but not, except in special circumstances, *two hotdishes). A typical contrast in usage between C casserole and M hotdish:

And in Minnesota, that pan filled to the brim with gooey, melty goodness is not a casserole, but hotdish. To make hotdish, you’ll need three key ingredients: meat, canned soup and a starch. (link)

2 Responses to “Minnesota hotdish”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Comment #1 from Alex on Facebook:

    Thanks for the publicity. Yes like I said my dish was kind of a hybrid 🐑🍄🍅🥕, but in Minnesota there are all kinds of hotdishes, so I think we’re free to be creative.

    Certainly, hotdish can take many forms, some more canonical than others. But I was struck by the hotdishes in Alex’s comment.

    The N hotdish is indeed M rather than C, but the language allows conversions between the two categories for special purposes — among them, a M > C conversion, type conversion, providing reference to a kind or type, as in We sampled three German beers.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Comment #2 from Alex on Facebook:

    Here is a recipe for a more scaled-down hotdish. But all of the main ingredients are the same as mine (a protein, a starch, cream of mushroom soup, and cheese). Also note that he does stir fry the meat at the beginning.


    This is “How to make a Casserole and/or Hotdish (and donate blood) – Quarantine Kitchen”, a video by Charlie Berens, one of a series in which he adopts the persona of Crude But Lovable Dude to earnestly exhort people to give blood during these pandemic days.

    From Wikipedia:
    Charlie Berens is an Emmy Award–winning journalist, comedian, and creator of “Manitowoc Minute” [a Wisc-centric weekly comedic video series].

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