And the Winner of the Great Sarello’s Soup-Off Is…

The Great Sarello’s Soup-Off has come to a close and, with 122 votes cast over two days of tasting last week at Sarello’s, one soup reigned victorious.  While our voters enjoyed all five of our featured finalists’ soups, in the end there was no stopping the juggernaut that was Tom Shorma’s Walleye Chowder, which received an impressive 54 percent of the vote.

We congratulate Tom for his original use of a favorite regional ingredient which both surprised our voters in its creativity, and delighted them with its wonderfully delicious local flavor. People were positively gushing about Tom’s walleye chowder which, with its lovely red color, will cut a pretty picture when served in the soup bowls which were graciously offered as our grand prize by our friends at Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach, ND.

An avid foodie, Tom is also a passionate outdoorsman and experienced fisherman, both on the lakes of Minnesota and in over 30 fly-in fishing trips to Canada. Tom told us that he serves as the “head chef” in their group of six to eight fishermen, and is responsible for cooking up fresh walleye two to three times each day, for four days straight. Tom approaches this culinary challenge with enthusiasm, making it his goal to give the group as much variety as possible.

Some of Tom’s features include the traditional shore lunch, Cajun walleye and even walleye tacos. But Tom said that each year the party favorite ends up being his personal favorite, and after tasting Tom’s walleye chowder in last week’s Soup-Off our voters gave it their endorsement, too.

Tom’s chowder is a clever twist on a traditional Manhattan clam chowder, which has a tomato based broth as opposed to the thick and creamy classic New England chowder. When submitting his entry, Tom advised us of the factors he considered when creating his chowder, which included easy preparation and ingredients that can be found in most any local grocery store.

He even recommended looking for ingredients that are already cubed or chopped, which shortens the amount of prep time. Tom also takes the time to pre-measure all of the spices, which he puts in a small container to pack for the trip.

With both a daughter and mother-in-law requiring a gluten-free diet, Tom said that his chowder is easy to modify to accommodate their needs, and even included these tips in his recipe.

While Tom’s walleye chowder was the star of the Great Sarello’s Soup-Off, our voters raved about all five of our finalists’ featured soups. To select our finalists among the dozens of recipe entries we received, we looked for soups that were unique to each other and different from what we typically offer at Sarello’s. Any one of these soups would be a welcome addition to our menu.

Finishing in second-place is Michelle Erdmann of Fargo, with her recipe for Italian Sausage and Cheese Tortellini Soup with Spinach (Gio’s favorite), affectionately dubbed “Ogre Stew” by her coworker’s children who noticed that the shape of the pasta resembles Disney-character Shrek’s ears.

Third place honors go to Renee Crary of Detroit Lakes, with her elegant and creative blend of white and black beans called Tuxedo Bean Soup. Our runners-up, both hailing from Fargo, are Kristen Berg Rheault’s Valley Borscht and Sarah Ann Miller’s Beer Cheese Soup. All of the entries can be found on our blog at www.thelostitalian.areavoices.com.

Whether you submitted a recipe, cast a vote, or contributed a prize for our winners, we are grateful to everyone who participated and helped make the Great Sarello’s Soup-Off such a success.

Tom Shorma’s Walleye Chowder

Michelle Erdmann’s Italian Sausage & Cheese Tortellini Soup with Spinach

Renee Crary’s Tuxedo Bean Soup

 

Today’s Featured Recipes: Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto

Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto

Tony’s talking turkey this morning on North Dakota Today with Chris and Andrea, and is sharing two of our favorite Thanksgiving-inspired recipes: Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto.

CLICK HERE to WATCH TONY on NORTH DAKOTA TODAY

Turkey Crepes are an elegant and creative way to utilize leftover turkey meat, or to put a new twist on your Thanksgiving Day menu. The focus of these two recipes is simplicity – these are elegant, yet uncomplicated dishes that you can easily make right at home. Tony even gives us permission to skip the hassle of making crepes from scratch, and encourages us to find fresh ones in the produce department of our local grocery store. As a busy mom, I love any kind of tip that helps me save time – thanks, Tony!

The pistachio pesto couldn’t be easier to make, but don’t let that fool you – with its wonderful nuttiness and buttery flavor, this pesto takes these basic turkey crepes to the next level. This pesto is incredibly versatile, and could also be used with chicken or fish, or even as a dip with hearty crackers. For this recipe, Tony uses pre-shelled and salted pistachios, so no additional salt needs to be added to the pesto.

CLICK HERE for the Turkey Crepes RECIPE

CLICK HERE for the Pistachio Pesto RECIPE

 Be sure to check out our Thanksgiving 101 section here on the blog for Tony’s Top Ten Turkey Tips (T to the 5th), Thanksgiving Wine Pairings and Turkey Thawing Guidelines.

Who Are Our Three Remaining Finalists in the Great Sarello’s Soup-Off?

The Great Sarello’s Soup-Off kicked off last night with our first round of tasting and, with over 70 votes cast, 3 soups have emerged as the crowd favorites! It’s a tight race, and votes will be combined from both rounds of voting so join us tonight and help us decide the winning soup from our three remaining finalists:

Walleye Chowder
submitted by Tom Shorma, Fargo, ND

Tuxedo Bean Soup
submitted by Renee Crary, Detroit Lakes, MN

Italian Sausage & Cheese Tortellini Soup with Spinach
submitted by Michelle Erdmann, Fargo, ND

Congratulations to our finalists!

We’ll have all three soups ready for you to TASTE & VOTE TONIGHT in the Sarello’s Wine Lounge from 5:30 to 6:30 PM, so come on out and help us pick our winner!

The first-place winner will receive a set of four soup bowls from
North Dakota artist Tama Smith of Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach, ND.
(see sample photo below)

Other Prizes include:
Breadsmith Bread 
Sarello’s Gift Card(s)

Grocery Store Gift Card(s)
Handheld Immersion Blender

The Great Sarello’s Soup-Off Starts TONIGHT!

Join us TONIGHT in the Sarello’s Wine Lounge from 5:30 – 6:30 PM for our first-ever Great Sarello’s Soup-Off, featuring 5 original recipes submitted by our readers.You’ll have the opportunity to sample each finalists’ soup and vote for your favorite. Voting will take place over two days, Wednesday, Nov. 5th and Thursday, Nov. 6th, and the winner will be announced in our Forum column and here on the blog on Wednesday, Nov. 12th.

Congratulations and Good Luck to our Five Finalists!

Walleye Chowder
submitted by Tom Shorma, Fargo, ND

Tuxedo Bean Soup
submitted by Renee Crary, Detroit Lakes, MN

 Beer Cheese Soup
submitted by Sarah Ann Miller, Fargo, ND

Italian Sausage & Cheese Tortellini Soup with Spinach
submitted by Michelle Erdmann, Fargo, ND

Valley Borscht
submitted by Kristen Berg Rheault, Fargo, ND

The first-place winner will receive a set of four soup bowls from
North Dakota artist Tama Smith of Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach, ND.
(see sample photo below)

Other Prizes include:
Breadsmith Bread 
Sarello’s Gift Card(s)

Grocery Store Gift Card(s)
Handheld Immersion Blender