At home, we called this Atomic Hotdish—for reasons we’ve never been able to trace—or Funeral Hotdish, because it’s a church-basement, funeral-lunch staple. I still make this. Served with canned corn and buttered white bread, there is no more traditional Midwestern comfort food.
- 1 1⁄2 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 T. butter
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 3 cups cooked white rice, room temperature
- 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can condensed cream of celery soup
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup milk
- pepper to taste
- 32-ounce (approximately) bag tater tots
Brown ground beef with onions; drain well. Place in a large mixing bowl, and set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter, add celery, and cook over medium-low heat until celery just starts to soften. Add to ground beef in mixing bowl along with cooked rice.
In another bowl, stir together the soups (do not dilute), mayonnaise and milk. Pour over ground beef and rice mixture, season with pepper to taste, and stir gently to combine. Spoon mixture into a buttered 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish. Cover with a solid, single layer of tater tots, placing them in rows.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F until mixture is bubbling and tater tots are brown and starting to get crispy, approximately 45 to 60 minutes.