Bacon Tater Tots

I was asked to make something for the kids at the opening of the Haymarket Community Garden. So I asked a number of people what would make the humble tater tot better. The two most popular answers were cheese and bacon. No one said add rutabaga, go figure. I had taste tests and got the OK, so I could proceed. So, you can taste the bacon and the cheese with all the things that young and old love about the noble tot. I hope you like it.

4 russet potatoes, boiled fork tender or use instant mashed potatoes
1 cup grated hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 egg
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons chives
Coating:
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
10 strips bacon (from Hayfield Farm)

In a bowl add boiled potatoes, butter, and mash; add Old Bay and pepper.

Fold in hash browns, cheese, chives, egg, and flour.

In a pie pan mix bread crumbs, Old Bay, and garlic powder.

Form the potato mixture into a cylinder slightly larger than the width of bacon strip, about 1 1/2 inches thick and roll in panko mixture.

Wrap with 1/2 strip of bacon.

Air fry at 370 degrees for 18 minutes.

Or bake for 20 -25 minutes.

Serve with favorite dipping sauce.

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