Make Me a Sandwich!...Tots!
Who doesn’t love potatoes? The answer is no one. Everyone loves to eat potatoes in all their many shapes and sizes. Baked potato? Check. Mashed Potatoes? Double Check. French fried potatoes? That isn’t even worth a response. Potatoes are everywhere and you can get them at your favorite restaurant with ease but what about potatoes slutty cousin the sweet potato? Sweet potatoes are rarely listed as a menu item at a restaurant and when they are it is like seeing a unicorn in the wild. That is too bad because the sweet potato is delicious, can be used in any recipe that a potato can be used in, and has a sweetness that can really make a potato dish extra special.
I love sweet potatoes and when I came across this special recipe I knew I wanted to make it. This month for Make Me a Sandwich we are cooking Sweet Potato and Bacon Tots With Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce. You read that right; we are making sweet potato tater tots made better with the mystical food that can make anything taste better, bacon.
I was confident going into the cooking process that this would be a pretty straight forward recipe to cook. After all, there are only four ingredients for the tots and four ingredients for the sauce so it couldn’t be that hard. I should have anticipated that limited ingredients was bound to mean additional work but I was too blinded by the idea of having tater tots with bacon that I dove right in.
Here is what you will need to gather for the cooking of these little nuggets of heaven:
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 strips of bacon (because we all just cook two strips of bacon, right?)
- 3 cups of vegetable oil
- 3 heaping tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
Before we get started cooking let me warn you about the time commitment you are about to undertake. The recipe per the Food Network website says that this recipe will take 65 minutes with a breakdown of 25 minutes for prep, 15 minutes inactive, and 25 minutes cooking. This is complete and utter bullshit. It took me at least 90 minutes and that didn’t even include cooking the bacon because I did that earlier in the day. Consider yourself warned that this is a commitment of at least 2 hours but you will have tater tots with bacon at the end so it is sort of like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Let’s start by boiling a giant pot of salted water. This will take you at least 15 to 20 minutes that isn’t included in the timeline of the recipe but you all you are doing is waiting for water to boil so try some multitasking. While the water is boiling I suggest knocking out some of those shows that are backing up in your Netflix queue. For me that show is Arrow. I have to catch up so I can be ready for when Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow are all on the CW at the same time.
Once the water comes to a boil go ahead and toss in those two giant sweet potatoes and let them cook for about 15 minutes. You won’t be cooking the potatoes all the way to mashing consistency but it will be close. Now, depending on the size of the sweet potato you may want to consider adding a few more. I actually used five sweet potatoes but mine were not huge and I wanted to make sure there was plenty of potato to make the tots.
While the potatoes are boiling you will want to cook up your bacon or you can be like me and cook up the bacon during breakfast because there is no chance in hell I have or ever will cook up only two slices of bacon at a single time. In a skillet the size of your choosing add your bacon and cook it till it is nice and crisp. This should take about 10 minutes with one flip. I used some cured bacon from our meat guy at the farmer’s market but you can use any bacon you choose. I mean come on; we all know that bacon is a lot like sex, it can’t possibly be bad it can just be great or greater.
Once you are done cooking the bacon transfer it to a paper towel lined plate and soak up as much of the extra fat as possible and let it cool. Once the bacon is cooled enough to handle you will need to chop up the bacon very fine. I used the Pampered Chef version of the Slap-Chop to make sure to get my bacon to the size I needed. Remember that you only need two slices of bacon for the tots so just go ahead and shove the remaining pound of bacon down your gullet.
At this point your potatoes should have completed the 15 minutes of boiling. Drain the sweet potatoes and let them cool long enough for you to handle with your bare hands. This will take forever if you don’t give them some help so I suggest running some cold water over your sweet potatoes. If you don’t you will add another 5 to 6 hours onto this recipe and since I’m an American I don’t have time or patience to wait that long. I need it now so I used cold water.
This is the part where you will hope that you have a shredding attachment to a food processor because if you don’t you will be getting a nice arm workout. It is time to shred the potatoes. First, lay out many (the recipe says 4 but that is also nonsense because you will need at least 24) paper towels on the counter. Using whatever shredding device is at your disposal (I used a regular manual shredder) shred all the potatoes onto the paper towels. This will take at least 30 minutes if you are doing it by hand like I did. If you have a food processor then you are a jerk.
Once you have shredded all the potatoes into the paper towels try to squeeze as much of the moisture. The key to making perfect tots is to suck out as much of the moisture as possible. Mix the potatoes together with you diced bacon, just a bit of salt, and the three tablespoons of flower. Get the stuff all mixed together so you have a nice sweet potato type paste.
At this point you need to heat up your three cups of oil to 300 degrees. The recipe calls for a straight sided skillet but I suggest using another pot so make sure you don’t have oil flying all over the place. If you have a thermometer make sure to use it because you will want to keep the oil as close to 300 degrees as possible.
While the oil is heating up use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to create small logs from the sweet potato mixture. Fry the tater tots in the oil until there are a nice golden brown. It should take about 2 ½ or 3 minutes. You will need to adjust the heat on the stove to keep the oil temperature as close to 300 degrees as possible. Every time you add more tots the temperature is going to drop quickly so you’ll want to watch it closely.
When the tots look golden brown transfer the tots to another paper-towel lined plate to allow the excess oil to drain. Sprinkle some salt all over the tots while they are still warm and then you are all set. While the tots are cooking go ahead and mix up all the ingredients for the sauce. In a small bowl mix together the 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Now your tots are done and your sauce is ready. Deliciousness!
We decided to serve our tots with some grilled cheese sandwiches. The tots were delicious even if they weren’t as crisp as the tots you may have at a restaurant. They were also much bigger than the tots you would get at a restaurant. That didn’t make them any less delicious. The bacon was almost imperceptible and probably could have been more prominent. All in all the tots were delicious but I don’t think they were worth the effort. Huh? I guess that means you won’t be cooking these tots. Oh well, they were good.
P.S. Here are some bonus pictures.