By Christina Wilkie - 01/27/11 12:53 AM EST
Call it “Iron Chef,” congressional-style: The first annual Minnesota
Hotdish contest took place Wednesday afternoon in the office of Sen. Al
Franken (D-Minn.), and the competition was fierce.
The goal was to create the best version of a tasty treat native to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. It’s called hotdish, one word, and according to food writer Hallie Harron, the only requirements for a hotdish are that it be a casserole containing starch, protein, a binding liquid (often cream-of-mushroom soup) and a crunchy crust.
The blind judging was performed by former Reps. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) and Gerry Sikorski (D-Minn.) and MinnPost reporter Derek Wallbank.
At the start of the competition, Franken joked that for those familiar with Minnesota cuisine, hotdish is best accompanied by “Jell-O salad, bars and pop.” Bachmann donned an apron with a Minnesota Twins logo on it for good measure.
With a combined total of 51 points from the judges, Klobuchar won the day with her “Taconite Tater Tot Hotdish.” But the lawmaker made sure to give credit where it was due: her staff.
A spokeswoman for Klobuchar said a group of staffers had prepared numerous hotdishes, and that the senator had joined them in tasting, and ultimately selecting, the tater tot dish.