Anticipating St. Patrick’s Day later this week, I spent hours this weekend pondering how to celebrate – foodwise, of course. When I asked my husband about my idea for this year, his eyes lit up. Not surprising considering that he named his dog Potatoes and insisted on serving Harp at our wedding. And so, with much laughter along the way, together we developed these beer-coated tater tots.
When it comes to homemade tater tots, there are two basic decisions that you have to make right away: mashed vs. grated and fried vs. baked.
My beloved insisted on grated potatoes, just like the tater tots he ate as a kid. And I decided to bake them because who wants to heat up several inches of oil and make a huge mess just after they cleaned the kitchen earlier that morning? Oh, and then there is the super unhealthy aspect of deep fried anything vs. the less unhealthy prospect of baked potato morsels.
I knew how I wanted these beer-coated tater tots to look and taste.
Amazingly, I was able to get pretty close to my fantasy, with help. The Graceful Kitchen’s recipe for Baked Vegan Beer-Battered Onion Rings (try saying that 3 times fast) provided inspiration for the batter, and Wishful Chef showed me how to make fuss-free grated potato tots.
Tips for making Beer-Coated Tater Tots
- Potatoes – Experts I consulted say that Russet or baking potatoes – the starchiest type – make both the best mashed potatoes and the crispiest latkes. They do hold the cylindrical (or, as my beloved calls it, the “beer barrel”) shape of the tots well. If you prefer Yukon Gold or yellow potatoes, mix in at least one Russet. I haven’t tried red or white, but I suspect that with less starch than either Russet or Yukon, they won’t hold the shape well.
- Grating – After baking, the tater tots soften to an almost-mashed consistency. So if you want the grated texture to remain, use a medium-large (not small) grater.
- Batter/Coating – The liquid batter followed by a crusty coating, two-stage dipping method is similar to that my mom uses for her chicken cutlets. (The chicken cutlets are floured first, but that’s a minor matter.) It’s ok to use your hands, but easier to accomplish if you can fish each tater tot out of the liquid with a spoon or fork. Set out your bowls in a mise en place (organized) way to make beer-coated tater tots in an assembly line – small bowl of beer to wet your hands, grated potatoes, batter (beer + other ingredients), and coating (herbed panko).
- Baking and Freezing – You can bake the tater tots immediately or later. For baking later in the day, just refrigerate them. You can also freeze them on a plate or pan, then once they are hard, toss them in a freezer bag and pull them out at a later date.
Want more ideas for St. Patrick’s Day? Try these:
- Sister Mary’s Soda Bread (an Irish-American tradition in my husband’s family)
- A more authentic Irish soda bread
- Individual Shepherd’s Pie
- Shepherd’s Pie Casserole
- Irish Scones (a copycat recipe from a wonderful Dublin restaurant, the LovinSpoon)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day !!