Bear meat hotdish wins Al Franken's annual competition in Congress

Ain't no party like a hotdish party.

The judges have spoken: Bear meat hotdish is the winner of Sen. Al Franken's annual contest.

Rep. Collin Peterson had the award-winning dish at the 7th annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition, which was held Wednesday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, a news release says.

Reps. Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis tied for runner up with their "Sunday Beer Run and Brat Hotdish" and “Minnesota Wild Rice and Pheasant Hot Dish," respectively.

Franken has been hosting the competition since 2011, as a way to "bring the delegation together to put partisanship aside and celebrate a Minnesota culinary tradition," the release says.

Peterson, who represents Minnesota's 7th House District, concocted his victorious hotdish using meat from a bear shot in Wisconsin, which he aptly titled "Right to Bear Arms Hotdish."

It beat out entries from several other Minnesota delegates including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Reps. Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Rick Nolan, and Jason Lewis.

And really, how could it not be the champion with ingredients like ground bear meat, frozen potato olés, chow mein noodles, and not one, but two "cream of" soups... mmm.

The dishes were judged on taste, presentation, and originality. Contest winners were announced live on Franken's Facebook page.

And judging must have been difficult, with contenders like Rep. Erik Paulsen's "Lake Wobegon Swedish Meatball Shepherd Pie" and Rep. Keith Ellison's "Solidarity Kugel."

“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.

This is Rep. Peterson’s first hotdish title. With three wins, Congressman Tim Walz has the best record in the cook off. His “Turkey Taco Hotdish” took the top prize last year.

You can find all of this year's hotdish recipes here.

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