Today, Minnesota's Congressional Delegation came together for U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) fourth annual hotdish competition. Sen. Franken started the friendly “Hotdish Off” as a way to bring the delegation together and celebrate a Minnesota culinary tradition. Rep. Tim Walz’s (D-Minn) “Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish” took first place, and tying for second was Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s “’It’s So Cold My Hotdish Froze’ Dessert Hotdish” and Rep. John Kline’s (R-Minn.) “Morning ‘Hot Chow’ Hotdish.” Participants' recipes can be found here.
“It’s a great day when the Minnesota delegation is able to put our differences aside and enjoy some great hotdishes,” said Sen. Franken. “I want to thank all my colleagues for participating in today’s competition, and a huge congratulations to Tim for his winning Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish. It was delicious.”
“Thank you to Senator Franken and his staff for putting this annual, bipartisan event on and for allowing us all to share our hotdish recipes. I’m honored that our Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish won this year, making southern Minnesota back-to-back hotdish champions. The good folks in Worthington who celebrate King Turkey Days should know that, at least for today, turkey reigns supreme in Washington as well,” said winner Rep. Tim Walz.
“This Minnesota winter has been so cold that even my hotdish couldn’t escape the freezing temperatures,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “The dish has a virtual polar vortex of flavor that sent a shiver down the spine of the competition and gave the judges goosebumps. While it ultimately got iced out of first place, I want to wish a very warm congratulations to Rep. Walz for his delicious (and hot!) dish.”
"The Hunter's Hotdish is a perfect way to use up that venison in the freezer as you're thinking about next fall's hunt," said Rep. Collin Peterson. "This crunchy tater tot topping is something everyone can agree on."
“Hotdish is a Minnesota tradition and coming together to share food, recipes and companionship is a great way to honor the neighborly spirit that makes Minnesota such a great place to live,” said Rep. Betty McCollum
“I enjoy the chance to take a brief moment to come together with my fellow Minnesotans, especially over something as uniquely Minnesotan as hotdish,” said Rep. John Kline. “Equally as enjoyable were the dishes today and I want to congratulate Rep. Walz on a well-deserved victory.”
“I look forward to the hot dish competition each year. Our recipes are as diverse as our politics, but we can all agree that a good hot dish is a staple on kitchen tables across Minnesota. Not only do we get to enjoy a little taste of home, it is a bipartisan opportunity to celebrate the community and traditions that make Minnesota the greatest state,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann.
“I want to thank Senator Franken and the whole Minnesota congressional delegation for putting on the 4th Annual Hotdish Competition,” said Rep. Keith Ellison. “There are a lot of great Minnesota traditions, few more delicious than the Pride of the 5th Hotdish.”
“We demonstrated today that of Minnesota’s four essential food groups – coffee, bars, jello, and hotdish – hotdish once again reigns supreme,” said Rep. Rick Nolan.
“Minnesotans have long gathered around the kitchen table to enjoy a Hotdish,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen. “I always enjoy how this friendly competition makes it possible for each of us in the delegation to bring some of that home-cooking with us to Washington. While I don’t know how the judges can ever pick just one winner, I congratulate Rep. Walz on taking home the prize with his Hotdish this year.”
After blind taste testing each member's hotdish, former Congressmen Vin Weber (R-Minn.) and Gerry Sikorski (D-Minn.), named Rep. Tim Walz’ "Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish" the winner of the 2014 Hotdish off. Minnesota native Dan Meyer acted as the Master of Ceremonies for the event.
The other members prepared the following hotdishes: Sen. Klobuchar made ‘It’s So Cold My Hotdish Froze’ Dessert Hotdish; Sen. Franken made Grandma Phoebe’s Sunday Supper Hotdish; Rep. Peterson made Hunter’s Hotdish; Rep. McCollum made Minnesota Wild Rice and Chicken Hotdish; Rep. Kline made Morning ‘Hot Chow’ Hotdish; Rep. Bachmann made Polar Vortex-Mex Hotdish; Rep. Ellison made Pride of the 5th Hotdish; Rep. Walz made Turkey Trot Tator Tot Hotdish; Rep. Nolan made Ranger’s Hunting Camp Hotdish; and Rep. Paulsen made Grandma’s Minnesota Nice Mock Lasagna.
Last year, Rep. Walz’s “Hermann the German Hotdish” took first place. In 2012, Sen. Franken’s “Mom's Mahnomin Madness Hotdish” and former Rep. Chip Cravaack’s (R-Minn.) “Minnesota Wild Strata Hotdish” tied for first place. Sen. Klobuchar took top honors in 2011 with her “Taconite Tater-Tot Hotdish.”
Photo: Tim Walz's Turkey Trot Tator Tot Hotdish.