Years ago, my friend took me to a restaurant that had the biggest portion of chili cheese fries known to man for only $4. We were only able to finish ¼ of the serving, but I enjoyed every bite immensely. How can you resist freshly fried french fries topped with savory beef chili and tons of shredded cheddar? I've been going to the same establishment ever since whenever I want a good helping of chili cheese fries. That craving struck again today but I decided to make my own at home with tater tots instead of french fries. Tater tots with chili cheese? How can you go wrong?
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The secret to making the best chili is to cook the stew over low heat for a long period of time. I remember watching an episode of Top Chef where the challenge was to cook the best chili. All of the chefs stayed up during the entire night to cook their chili, stirring as needed. I cooked my chili for only 1 hour since I was limited on time. But even after one hour, the chili had developed great flavor from the spices and tomatoes.
If you're cooking the chili for longer than one hour, you may need to add water to prevent the chili from drying out. Simply add ½ cup water at a time and let it cook out before adding more. Also, make sure to stir the pot once in a while to prevent the ingredients from settling to the bottom and burning.
Since I was making the chili, I decided to just buy tater tots instead of making them myself. I reheated mine in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F until crispy. Serve with hot chili and top with cheese. The heat from the chili will be hot enough to melt the cheese.
The chili seems so simple but it really makes the dish! The crispy tater tots with hot chili and gooey cheese...all the reasons why I love chili with potatoes come rushing back as I indulged in this dish. Plenty of leftover chili and tater tots mean I'll be having this again...probably tomorrow!
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