History of Hotdish: A hotdish is the Minnesotan term typically known as a casserole that contains a starch, a meat, canned or frozen vegetable, and a canned soup that is cooked together in one baking dish. Since many Minnesotan settlers are Norwegian, it is believed that hotdish originated with the Norwegian word “varmrett” which translates to warm dish. These one-dish meals are cheap, easy to make, and very filling. Hotdish became popular in the Midwest states of Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. One would commonly find these served at potlucks such as family reunions, funerals, or church suppers. Hotdish meals came about when farm wives needed to find inexpensive ways to feed a meal to their family or congregation members of the Lutheran church.
For many years the most typical meat used was ground beef and cream of mushroom soup was also a favorite. Pasta used to be the most common starch used, but rice and tator tots are also frequently used. Tuna casserole is another popular hotdish to serve.
You will find the hotdish featured as one of the typical Minnesotan dishes in the popular radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. Minnestota public television station, KSMQ, produced a 2012 documentary entitled Minnesota Hotdish, providing a historical and humorous look at the popular family gathering and church supper staple.
Tator Tot Casserole Recipe: