Franken, Cravaack tie for first in hotdish cook off

Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Chip Cravaack shared the honor of first place hotdish.

On Wednesday, March 7, Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation came together for U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) second annual hotdish competition. Sen. Franken started the friendly “Hotdish Off” last year as a way to bring the delegation together to put partisanship aside and celebrate a Minnesota tradition.

And the winners were?

Sen. Franken and Rep. Chip Cravaack tied for first place with their “Mom’s Mahnomin Madness Hotdish (Franken)” and “Minneosta Wild Strata Hotdish (Cravaack).”

“If there’s one thing that can bring a bunch of Minnesotans together, it’s hotdish” said Sen. Franken. “I want to thank all of my colleagues for participating in today’s competition, and it’s always great to be able to put partisanship aside and focus on the things we have in common. And a hearty congratulations to Rep. Cravaack for the an amazing hotdish.”

“Thanks to Senator Franken and his staff for a job well done and a great afternoon.” said Rep. Cravaack. “I want to thank my colleagues and their staffs for all the hard work that went into today’s event.”

“While Ted the Turkey didn’t get pardoned at Thanksgiving, he lives on as the inspiration for this fine hotdish,” said Klobuchar. “Congratulations to this year’s winners, Senator Franken and Representative Cravaack. Thanks for working out your tied scores without a recount.” Sen. Klobuchar was the winner of the first cook off last year.

Judges were Congressmen Vin Weber (R-Minn.) and Reverend Patrick Conroy, the House Chaplain.

The other members preparing hot dishes:  Sen.  Klobuchar made Ted the Turkey Memorial Hotdish; Rep. Peterson made Pølse and Potet hotdish; Rep.  Bachmann made St. Croix River Crossing hotdish; Rep. Paulsen made Double Barrel Pheasant hotdish; Rep.  Ellison made Minnesota Meat on Your Bones Shepherd’s Pie; and Rep.  Walz made Spam Town Special hotdish.

Sen. Franken’s Mom’s Mahnomin Madness Hotdish


  • 1 lb. Wild rice (Mahnomen)
  • one stick butter
  • ten cloves of garlic
  • 3 medium sized yellow onions
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 2 lbs. White button mushrooms
  • 2 cans (8 oz. each) of water chestnuts, drained, then sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (diluted with 1/2 cup fo water)
  • salt to taste
  • Roast turkey – pulled from the bone
  • Turkey gravy (aujus)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan


  1. In a colander, rinse the wild rice.
  2. Put the rice in a pot, and cover with 3 inches of water. Boil in a pot, uncovered, for about 20 to 25 minutes. If you’re using Mahnomen wild rice, it will cook more quickly than the paddy variety.
  3. While the rice is boiling, slice (do not mince) the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and celery.
  4. Melt the butter in a skillet, and sauté the onions, garlic, and celery until they begin to bleed a little liquid into the butter. Then add the mushrooms. The celery and onions should not be totally soft.
  5. Once the rice has cooked, drain it and add to the sautéed vegetables.
  6. Add pulled turkey and gravy, water chestnuts.
  7. Place mixture in casserole dish, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, and place in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until top is browned and hot dish is heated through.


Rep. Cravaack’s Minnesota Wild Strata

  • Loaf of French bread, sliced and cubed
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups milk, divided
  • 3 tsp. dry mustard
  • 15 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 lbs. ground pork sausage, browned and drained
  • 1 C. cooked Minnesota wild rice
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can Cream of Mushroom soup

Place French bread in a well greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Mix eggs, three cups milk and dry mustard together.  Carefully pour over bread. Sprinkle cheese, sausage and wild rice over bread.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  Before baking, mix cream of mushroom soup and 1 cup milk together and spread over bread mixture.

Bake covered at 375 degrees for one hour.  Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

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