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Pepperoni: not just for pizza

Festival in Algona celebrates versatility of the spicy sausage

September 15, 2012
By HANS MADSEN, , Messenger News

ALGONA - Pepperoni - it's not just for pizza anymore.

Celebrating the spicy sausage's versatility, entrants in the inaugural Algona Pepperoni Festival Recipe Contest included a host of dishes not normally found on the same plate.

Things like egg rolls, chowder, sauerkraut salad and the winning entry, toffee scones.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Holly Drennan, left, and Jeremy Rummel work their way through some of the entries in the pepperoni recipe contest Saturday afternoon at the innaugural Algona Pepperoni Festival. Drennan is the senior marketing manager and Rummel the plant manager at the Algona Hormel facility which makes pepperoni and is a co-sponsor of the festival along with the Algona Chamber of Commerce.

Margaret Curren, of Algona, came up with the idea.

"My mom was English," she said. "They eat scones, it's something sweet and salty."

She's still a bit new to the recipe.

"This is my third batch," she said. She plans on serving them for Sunday brunch although it won't be the batch she made for the contest. The judges left little for her to take home.

Two of those, Holly Drennan and Jeremy Rummel, both know their pepperoni well. They help make it at the Algona Hormel Plant, which co-sponsored the event with the Algona Chamber of Commerce. Drennan is the senior marketing manager. Rummel is the plant manager.

They like what they make.

"I can eat it anytime," Rummel said. "We have a passion for it."

Drennan found herself entranced by the scones.

"It's sweet and zesty," she said.

They were both glad to see the variety of recipes. One of their goals is to help people find ways to use it beyond a pizza topping.

If you want to know exactly what's in it, neither one can, or will, tell you much.

"It's a mixture of pork and beef," Rummel said. "Plus a secret blend of spices."

How secret is it ?

"Even people in our group don't have the exact mix," he said.

What he can divulge is that the plant provides the Algona area with 200 jobs and produces several million pounds per month.

Vicki Mallory, executive director of the Algona Chamber of Commerce, said she is happy about the partnership between the city and Hormel.

"Hormel has been a long-standing corporate citizen," she said.

She's also proud of the quantities the company makes.

"They're the largest manufacturer of pepperoni for Hormel," she said.

Meredith Heinold and her mom, Julie Bollig, worked together on their entry in the recipe contest - egg rolls with pepperoni.

"Mom used to make it a lot," Heinold said.

She plans on making it again. Not only was it delicious, it also gave her a second place behind the scones.

Her favorite place for pepperoni though - like many others.

"Probably pizza," she said.



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