BEREA, Ohio - The smell of SPAM was in the air Wednesday night at the Cuyahoga County Fair in Berea.
Twenty-six of Cuyahoga County's best cooks brought their favorite SPAM recipes to the Great American SPAM Championship.
"It's kind of cool to be a SPAM Champion," judge Samantha Welch said. She has won the competition three times already.
Wednesday's entries included SPAM chili, SPAM shish kabobs, and southern fried SPAM and pickles on a stick. Judging was based on taste, originality and presentation.
"It's my first time using a grill and deep fryer, too," 9-year-old Michael Meyer said of his SPAM shish kabob entry. Meyer said he entered the contest to raise money for a local orphanage. He place second in the kids division and won a $30 prize.
Amy Eagleeye, of Lakewood, took first place in the adult division with her Monte Cristo SPAMuse-Bouche. Gavin Rousek, 12, of Olmsted Township placed first in the kids division with his SPAM-chiladas.
Both winning recipes move on to national judging this fall.
Below are the two winning recipes:
Great American SPAM Championship – Adult
Amy Eagleye of Lakewood, 1 st Place, 2012 Cuyahoga County Fair
Monte Cristo SPAMuse-Bouche
4 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 (12 ounce) can SPAM Lite, browned and diced
2 cups roast turkey, chopped and cooked
1 (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/3 cup honey mustard
4 eggs, beaten
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Preserves or Jam, (your choice)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Toss together Swiss cheese, SPAM and turkey. Set aside. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured surface, roll into two 15x10-inch rectangles. Spread evenly with honey mustard, leaving a 1/4-inch border; sprinkle with the cheese mixture. Brush edges of puff pastry with some of the beaten egg. Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into 8 equal slices and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining beaten egg.
Bake until golden brown and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool briefly on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve warm with preserves (or jam). Yields: 8 to 12 servings.
Great American SPAM Championship – Kid Chef
Gavin Rousek (Age 13) of Olmsted Township, 1 st Place, 2012 Cuyahoga County Fair
1 (12 ounce) can Jalapeno SPAM
24 ounces enchilada sauce
10 corn tortillas
2 cups cooked white rice
4 garlic cloves
1 large onion
3/4 cup drained black beans
1/4 cup cilantro
2 cups shredded cheese, Mexican blend
1 green bell pepper
Shred SPAM with cheese grater. Finely chop garlic, pepper and 3/4 onion. Slice the rest of onion. Cook rice. Sweat onions, pepper and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add grated SPAM and fry for 5 minutes. Set aside 1/4 cup for topping. Empty contents from pan into mixing bowl. Add black beans, rice, cilantro and 1 cup cheese. Mix well. Cover bottom of baking dish with onion slices and 1/4 cup of sauce. Heat corn tortilla and coat with sauce. Fill corn tortillas with 2 spoonfuls of filling mix and roll up. Place rolls in dish and cover with the rest of the sauce. Cover SPAM-Chiladas with rest of shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Sprinkle fried SPAM bits over top. Serve with sour cream garnish if desired.
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