I’m not the biggest fan of tater-tots. That may shock you since here I am telling you how to make tater-tots from scratch. I am however a very big fan of breakfast burritos and you can’t have those without tater-tots.
The first thing you need to do, either early the day you plan to make the tater-tots or the night before, is to cook the potatoes. You want them to be cooked just to the point where they no longer have that crisp, starchiness of a raw potato. I bake mine but microwaving or steaming would probably work fine too. I would be hesitant to try boiling because it might make the potatoes too wet to stick together properly or too soft to have the right texture.
Once the potatoes are no longer crisp stick them in the fridge to fully cool. If you are impatient you can also put them in the freezer for a little while, maybe set a timer or write yourself a note so you don’t forget about them. Letting them cool all the way will make the potato keep their shape better when you grate them, which is important if you want a texture closest to store bought tater-tots. You could also use leftover baked or fried potatoes; the texture will just be different, creamier and less chunky.
Now you need to peel and grate your cooled potatoes. I use my grater attachment on my Cuisinart but a flat or box grater will work just fine. I think a ricer might work too but I haven’t had the opportunity to try it. If you don’t have a shredding disc and still want to use a food processor you could try just pulsing with a regular blade. It should work but you will probably have to work in smaller batches and be very careful not to cream your chunks. Do you see the creamy blob? That was because my potatoes were just a little too cooked this time. The potatoes are quartered so they fit in the Cuisinart feeder tube.
Now you add beaten egg to your grated potato until all the potatoes are coated with egg and starting to stick together. The ratio of egg to potato is: 2 large eggs per 3 medium potatoes. The number of eggs needed will depend on your potatoes (how cooked, dry, large) and eggs (size and if they have been frozen).
This was a thawed and beaten egg, the texture is a little strange but they work fine.
Add your seasoning. I use salt pepper and garlic but you can be creative and add whatever you like. You could even add bacon, cheese, garlic, onions or some other tasty thing I haven’t thought of.
Add in your bread crumbs and flour last. I used about a 1/8 cup of bread crumbs per 3 medium potatoes and maybe 3 tablespoons of flour. Once again depending on your eggs and potatoes, as well as your flour and bread crumbs, you will need more or less. You want dough at the end that is sticky and will form a nice mound when passed back and forth between spoons.
Breakfast burritos are the way we use tater-tots. It’s our early morning fast breakfast, because of that we fully cook our tater-tots before freezing. I decided to see what they turned out like if frozen uncooked and then baked.
I have some in the oven right now and it’s not looking promising folks. They’ve been cooked at 350°F for 45 minutes. As of right now even the ones I tossed in olive oil aren’t browning and they are not at all crispy. It took about an hour for them to finish, they came out with a really strange texture. The outside is really chewy and the inside is very soft. I think at least a little bit of frying before freezing is necessary to get the typical tater-tot texture. If you guys want to try freezing them raw, be my guest but I’m not going to put my vote of confidence behind it.
To cook them I pan fry in a ¼ of fat, I prefer lard but you can use whatever frying oil you prefer. You can also deep fry them, I don’t since I feel like it wastes a lot of oil, and I hate wasting things. Just turn them until all the sides are nicely brown, then let them cool and drain. Undercooked ones are fine for freezing since they will finish cooking in the oven, it just means they will take longer. Make sure to do just a few in your first batch and use them as your taste-testers so you can adjust the seasonings to your preference.
As you are heating your fat, shape your tots and lay them out on wax paper. They are sticky little buggers but if you are careful doing it this way makes the process a lot faster and you are less likely to over heat the fat between batches.
I use my flash freezing method to freeze these. Spread your tater tots out in a single larger on baking sheets or pans and pop them in the freezer. In about two hours they will be hard, then you can bag them up. By freezing them before bagging they won’t be stuck together. You will be able to take out just what you need at one time without having to bash a bag of frozen things all over your kitchen.
To heat them up I put them in a 350°F – 400°F oven in a single layer on a baking pan. When they are hot through excess fat will sizzle out all beautiful like.
I hope you guys like these. And yes, if you were wondering, I’m going to do a sweet potato-tot recipe soon. I bet you guys could pretty much figure it out on your own though. As always, I love to hear from you in the comments!
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