Bear meat hotdish wins Sen. Franken's 7th annual hotdish competition

- The Minnesota Congressional Delegation faced off in the most heated battle in D.C. yet this year - and it was delicious.

Senator Al Franken held his seventh annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition. He called this year's event, the most important so far in the competition's history.

“After a pretty grueling and divisive election year, it was great to put aside our differences and come together over some great hotdish,” said Sen. Franken. 

Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota's 7th District beat out the competition with his "Right to Bear Arms Hotdish." A panel of three judges picked Collin's bear meat casserole as the champion after a blind taste test of all dishes.

Peterson took home his first ever win, beating defending champion Representative Tim Walz, who won last year with his "Turkey Taco Hotdish." 

“This event is always a strong showing of bipartisanship and good food,” Rep. Peterson said. “It is an honor to be this year’s winner, with a hotdish that recognizes the great outdoors. It’s always a pleasure to come together with the delegation. I appreciate Senator Franken’s work to continue this annual tradition and thank the other delegation members for tasty hotdish.”

The winning recipe: Rep. Peterson's "Right to Bear Arms Hotdish"

Ingredients

1.5 pounds of lean ground bear meat
*may substitute other ground meat (wild game preferred) if bear is not readily available.
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 leek, chopped
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 stick butter
1 pound of frozen potato olés
10 ounce can of cream of celery soup
10 ounce can of cream of mushroom soup
8 sprigs of fresh marjoram, chopped
15 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
12 ounces of frozen green beans, French-cut
4 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded
2 ounces aged Gouda, shredded
2 ounces Gruyere, shredded
½ can chow mein noodles

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Grease a hotdish pan using a stick of butter until well-greased (don’t use all the butter). Line the bottom of the
pan with a solid layer of potato olés (you won’t use the entire bag). Put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes to
brown the potatoes.

Melt a pad of butter in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add onion and leek and sauté for three minutes.
Put bear meat in the pan and use a spatula to break down the meat as it browns. Do not overcook. Season withcracked black pepper as you go.

Remove browned potato olés from the oven and spread the bear mixture on top. Turn oven heat down to 375°F.

In another bowl, mix both cream soups, marjoram, thyme, chives, and frozen green beans. Mix vigorously, then
spread evenly over the potato and bear layers in the hotdish. Sprinkle cheddar atop it all.

Cover the hotdish with aluminum foil and bake at 35 minutes.

Remove the foil, and sprinkle Gouda, Gruyère, and chow mein noodles atop the hotdish. Place back in oven,
uncovered, and turn the heat up to 400°F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand for 10 minutes, if you can bear to wait.

All the other recipes for the contestants' hotdishes can be found here.

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