Alright folks, here's the recipe for some ridiculously good tater tots (respectfully modeled after a favorite dish at a nearby sandwich shop).
- 6-7 oz of sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1 package of tater tots
- 1 habanero pepper
- 4 Tbsp of salted butter
- 6-8 strips of thick-cut bacon
- ~1.5 cups of milk
- 2-3 Tbsp of baking flour
- 1-2 stalks of green onion
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Line a Pyrex pan with aluminum foil and place an elevated drain tray in it. Spray the tray with non-stick spray and place bacon strips on it.
3) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread tater tots on them
4) Place both tater tots and bacon in the oven. Set timer for approximately 20-25 minutes.
5) While the tots and bacon are cooking, put the butter in a small saucepan and melt under low/medium heat.
6) Thinly slice habanero pepper (CAREFUL TO NOT GET THE OILS ON YOUR HANDS OR EYES) and place it in the butter. Gently stir and allow flavor to blend with the butter for at least 5-10 minutes.
7) Pour butter / pepper sauce through a strainer into a small bowl. Use a spoon to mash the pepper contents through strainer. This helps to intensify the flavor/heat. Pour this back into the same sauce pan and (carefully) discard the pepper fragments left in strainer.
8) Slowly add flour to butter and gently stir (under low heat). This will make a bubbling/liquid mix. Be careful not to burn the flour or expose to high heat.
9) Continue to stir for a while looking for a color change (ideally looking for a golden brown color). This is important for removing the "flour" taste from the sauce.
10) Once you have the golden brown color, SLOWLY add the milk (while stiring). This will instantly thicken the rue.
11) Continue to stir and slowly add milk. You want a runny consistency -- think "runny pancake batter".
12) Add grated cheese and continue stirring until completely melted. Remove from heat.
13) At this point, the bacon and tots should hopefully be finished. If not, you'll need to wait. Remove from oven and cut bacon into large bits (I use poultry shears to cut).
14) Chop green onion into small bits.
You're DONE! Serve tots with cheese sauce generously drizzled with bacon and green onion on top.
- You'll note that some of the measurements are imprecise. That's because the desired consistency of the rue can vary.
- Always start the bacon and tots first. They take the longest to complete.