Truth be told, I’m not much of a potato guy; I’ll take rice as my starch any day of the week. But I can’t resist a tater tot (who can?), and that’s especially the case when they’re in the form of tater tot casserole from Opie’s, a barbecue joint outside of Austin. This recipe is my version of Opie’s masterpiece, with the important addition of chiles in roasted and pickled form. I’m a believer that chiles can go anywhere that melty rich cheese goes—not so much for their heat, but for their fruity flavor, which complements the creamy tang of dairy. This combo is put to practice over and over again—hello, chile flakes on your slice of pizza; hello, chiles rellenos—so keep it in mind the next time you have a fridge full of cheese and chiles. —Chris Shepherd
Reprinted with permission from Cook Like a Local by Chris Shepherd & Kaitlyn Goalen, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Julie Soefer. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.