This recipe showed up somewhere from the nice folx at Food Network, and I thought it would work a treat as the main course for an early afternoon Book Club gathering.
It is gluten free, and I kept the pickled celery and the crumbled bleu cheese as optional sides for those club members who do not do pickles or bleu cheese.
The original recipe called for shredded breasts from a rotisserie chicken, but I found that ground chicken worked a treat.
•1/2 cup water
•1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 tbsp Kosher salt
•2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
•32 oz bag frozen potato tots
•1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
•1/2 cup Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce, or your fave brand
•1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
•1 lb ground chicken
•Shredded three-cheese Mexican blend
•1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
The day before, bring the water and vinegar to a boil with the sugar and Kosher salt, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour over the celery and set aside to cool.
Note: you can make the quick pickle just before starting to make the tatchos, but I think that the flavor develops nicely overnight in the fridge.
When ready to make the totchos, heat your oven to 425º and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
Fun fact: to get parchment paper to lay flat in a pan, crumble it up into a ball first. It will then lay nicely flat.
Warm the olive in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the ground chicken.
Cook, stirring and breaking the chicken into small pieces, until cooked through.
Stir in the hot sauce and the butter, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook until the butter has melted and the sauce has reduced a bit, mebbe 15 minutes.
Arrange the tater tots in a single layer on the parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the tots from the oven and push them together, still in a single layer.
Top the tots with the cooked chicken and any of the sauce in the pan, then top with the shredded cheese.
A note on the shredded cheese: I did not specify and amount of cheese, because I invariably add more than what a recipe calls for. I would note that these are totchos, so I more or less covered mine with about two cups of shredded cheese.
Pop back in the oven for another ten minutes, then remove and allow to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
I topped the whole shebang with a drizzle of ranch dressing and some chopped fresh parsley, then allowed folx to add the quick pickles and bleu cheese as they liked, and offered additional ranch dressing.
I had some left over, but not much.