Laurie Willberg of Salt Lake City had never made funeral potatoes before, but she saw the Utah's Own Funeral Potatoes Contest at the State Fair and thought she would give it a try.
She gave her recipe a Southwestern spin, drawing inspiration from the Don Julio tortilla chips on the list of Utah's Own products that could be used. The point of the contest was to showcase Utah ingredients, and Willberg's recipe includes a lot of them.
"I made them for a gathering, and everybody liked them," she said.
I'm pretty sure Utahns didn't invent funeral potatoes, but they probably coined the name. In other parts of the country, the same dish goes by other names such as "Yummy Potatoes," "Cheesy Potatoes," "Heart-Stopper Hashbrowns," "Church Lady Potatoes" and "Hash Brown Casserole."
Willberg's casserole is different not just in the Southwestern flair, but because it uses fresh potatoes (instead of frozen hash browns), as well as buttermilk and a potato soup mix.
Willberg may be starting a new trend here.
Annie Broadbent won the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship with a Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries. Broadbent comes from an Ogden family that has won numerous State Fair competitions, beginning with her mother, Renae Woods. Here are the winning recipes from these two competitions. I'll be running more winning recipes in future columns.
8 medium russet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon Redmond Real Salt
1 cup dry Sawyer's Premium Potato Soup Mix
2 cups water, boiling
1 cup Meadow Gold Low Fat Buttermilk
1 cup Meadow Gold Sour Cream
2 cups grated Banquet Jalapeno Jack Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Redmond Real Salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup crushed Don Julio Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips
1 cup grated Banquet Medium Cheddar Cheese
1 jar Laurie's Buffalo Gourmet Salsa – Roasted Chili with Black Beans and Corn
Wash and scrub potatoes under cool water, place in stockpot with enough water to generously cover and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Boil 30 minutes or until tender but not soft. Remove from pot, place in colander and run cold water over potatoes to begin cooling. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in large mixing bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In medium mixing bowl, place potato soup mix and cover with boiling water, whisk together until smooth. Add buttermilk, sour cream, jalapeno jack cheese, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine ingredients. Pour mixture over diced potatoes and stir gently until all potatoes are well covered. Place in 9-by-13 pan.
Kids can have fun helping with this next step! Place contents of 1/2 bag (9 ounce bag) corn tortilla chips in large zip-seal bag. Seal bag and crunch until pieces are broken small enough for topping the casserole. Mix crushed chips with cheddar cheese. Cover casserole with chips and cheese mixture.
Bake uncovered 45 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is slightly browned. Serve with salsa on the side to put on top of casserole as desired.
— Utah's Own Funeral Potatoes Contest, Laurie Willberg, Salt Lake City, 1st place, 2012 Utah State Fair
FUDGY FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH RASBERRIES
24 ounces Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into six pieces; more for the pan
10 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted if lumpy
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces Ghirardelli Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup heavy cream
MIDDLE AND TOPPING:
Make the cake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch spring form pans. Melt the Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips and butter in the microwave, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove the bowl from microwave and set aside to cool slightly. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and 4 tablespoons water. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is very foamy, pale in color and doubled in volume. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually pour in the chocolate mixture. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating until well blended. Add the Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder and mix on medium low just until blended, about 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out looking wet with small gooey clumps, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes. If necessary, gently push the edges down with your fingertips until the layer is even. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Cover the cake pan with a wire rack and invert. Remove the pan and parchment and let the cake cool completely.
Make the cream: Whip cream until soft peaks form. Mix raspberry jam with 2 tablespoons of water. Fold raspberry jam into whipped cream.
Make the ganache: Put the Ghirardelli bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate chips in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
To assemble: Place one of the cakes on a cake plate. Spread cream mixture over cake and place raspberries over cream. Place the other cake on top. Pour ganache over cake and allow it to drip down the sides. Place raspberries on top while ganache is soft. Refrigerate the cake until it's very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.
— Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship, Annie Broadbent of Pleasant View, 1st Place, 2012 Utah State Fair
Valerie Phillips is the former Deseret News food editor. She blogs at www.chewandchat.blogspot.com.