How to make the North Dakota delicacy

By Rebecca Firkser
Updated March 01, 2018
Credit: Photo by Tetiana_Chudovska

I first learned about the casserole known as hotdish from one of my favorite food bloggers, Molly Yeh of My Name is Yeh. Technically, hotdish is comprised of meat, starch, vegetables, creamed soup all mixed together and and baked until hot. Hailing from the upper Midwest, hotdish is often found at church potlucks and other group eating events. Yeh (who now lives in North Dakota) makes many a hotdish on her blog taking liberties in traditional ingredients to make the casseroles more exciting. From turkey and wild rice to harissa and chickpeas, Yeh has put most ingredients one could think of into a hotdish, so we’re going to take a page from her book today and make breakfast hotdish. Are. You. Ready!?

First, cube 2 medium sweet potatoes and thickly slice 1 red onion. Toss the vegetables with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper on a sheet pan and roast at 375ºF for 25 minutes, or until soft.

While the potatoes are roasting, make a bechamel sauce-based soupy mixture. This is going to act as the binder in the hotdish in place of a can of creamed soup. If you’re in a hurry a can of cream of mushroom soup will get the job done, but I highly recommend the bechamel. It’s easy, you’ll see. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in 5 tablespoons all purpose flour until smooth. Continue to whisk for another minute, then slowly stream in 1 ½ cups whole milk and ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese. Whisk until the mixture is smooth, then slowly stream in 2 cups chicken broth. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, several grinds of black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Keep the mixture on low heat.

Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces of your preferred breakfast meat (bacon, sausage, taylor ham, etc.) and crumble or slice the meat if it’s in strip, patty, or link form. To jazz things up, use at least 2 or 3 types of meat. Stir the meat into the soupy bechamel along with the roasted sweet potatoes and onions.

Pour the mixture into a 3 quart baking dish and cover with frozen hash browns (patties or shredded will work) or premade biscuits. Go half and half if you can’t decide.

Bake the hotdish at 400ºF for 25-30 minutes, or until the hash browns and/or biscuits are golden brown. If you’d like, top the hashbrowns with more grated cheddar and broil just until the cheese is melted. Serve the hotdish as is, or with a fried egg if you’re just outrageously hungry.