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SUNDAY, SEPT. 9, 2012


Tamara Crain, entries coordinator
N.C. Mountain State Fair

Mountain State Fair crowns winners in
Great American Spam Championship

FLETCHER – The N.C. Mountain State Fair hosted the Great American Spam Championship Saturday. Sixteen competitors took part in the recipe contest.

Rheta Merrell of Rutherford County and Lynn Hilbert, 12, of Yancey County won first place in the adult and kid categories respectively. Merrell’s “Creamy Spam Chowder with Rolled Parmesan Biscuits” won over the judges and earned her $150 in prize money. Hilbert walked away with $60 for her “Spam Chop!” recipe.

Merrell’s recipe will advance to the national competition for the chance to earn a grand prize valued at $3,000. Hilbert will compete on the national level for the chance to earn a $2,000 prize.

Barbara Capps of Henderson County earned second place and $50 in the adult category for her “Sweet and Sour Spam” recipe. Casey Jernigan, also of Henderson County, came in third place with her “Spam I Am” recipe. The third-place finish earned her $25. Connie Pegg of Buncombe County received an honorable mention in the competition.

In the youth category, Victoria Ross, 15, of Buncombe County earned second place and $30 for her “Spam Bits” recipe. Emma Gates, 10, of Buncombe County came in third and earned $10 for her “Spam Pocket Pies” recipe. Kaley Cross and Jenna Ross both received honorable mentions.

Contestants could create a recipe for any meal. Each recipe was required to include at least one 12-ounce can of any Spam variety. Entries were judged on taste, originality and presentation.

Following are the winning recipes. Merrell’s recipe is listed first:


For the chowder:
2 tablespoons cooking oil
12-ounce can of Spam with bacon, sliced and diced
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup celery stalks, sliced and diced
1 cup potatoes, sliced and diced, may leave skin on
18.8-ounce can creamy potato with roasted garlic soup
11-ounce can Mexicorn, drained
1 cup fresh corn off the cob and cobs scraped for the corn cream
1 1/2 cups, half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkles of fresh or dried thyme for garnish

For the biscuits:
2 1/4 cups baking mix for biscuits
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for sprinkling if desired
2/3 cup milk, plus additional for brushing biscuits

In a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat, add the cooking oil, Spam, onions, celery and potatoes. Sauté 6 to 8 minutes, or until the Spam and potatoes are slightly browned and the onions and celery are translucent.

Add the potato soup, Mexicorn, fresh corn and half-and-half. Cook covered over medium heat 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Bring just to a boil over medium heat, constantly stirring, then turn heat off.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the baking mix for biscuits, cheese and milk until soft dough forms. Place dough on surface sprinkled with baking mix for biscuits. Knead 10 times. Roll dough half an inch thick.

Cut with a 2 to 2 ½-inch cutter. Place about one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with additional milk and sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Just before serving the chowder, add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish small sprinkles of fresh or dried thyme if desired. Ladle each serving of chowder over a biscuit, or ladle chowder into serving bowls and place biscuits to the side.


2 zucchinis
3 green onions
1/4 bag of carrots
8-ounce can water chestnuts
1/8 teaspoons ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/8 teaspoon poppy seed
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
6-ounce can of Spam light
1 cup rice
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cilantro leaves

Cook rice according to package direction. Dice Spam and vegetables. Get a big frying pan. Melt butter. Add diced Spam. Cook until brown. Add vegetables and all spices to Spam. While vegetables cook, scramble eggs with milk in a medium-sized skillet. Add rice to scrambled eggs and continue frying to taste. Place Spam mixture on rice for presentation. Sprinkle with soy sauce. Garnish with whole basil leaves and serve.




NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3001; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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