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Penn College cook again takes first in Mrs. T’s recipe contest

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Jennifer N. Severson took first prize, for the second year in a row, in the Mrs. T’s National Pierogy Day Recipe Contest.

Severson is head cook in CC Commons, one of nine dining units on campus. Her winning recipe is for pumpkin spice pierogies, featuring roasted root vegetables and pumpkin curry. It was one of many pierogy recipes featured across campus during the college’s Mrs. T’s National Pierogy Day celebration on Oct. 20, 2021.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Jennifer N. Severson (left), head cook in the college’s Bush Campus Center, accepts first place honors in the Mrs. T’s National Pierogy Day Recipe Contest from Victoria DeHart, national college & university specialist and region sales manager for Mrs. T’s Pierogies.
Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Jennifer N. Severson (left), head cook in the college’s Bush Campus Center, accepts first place honors in the Mrs. T’s National Pierogy Day Recipe Contest from Victoria DeHart, national college & university specialist and region sales manager for Mrs. T’s Pierogies.

More than 50 colleges and universities nationwide participated in the contest, held for the fourth time in October. This is the third year that a Penn College cook’s recipe has placed in the contest: In 2019, recipes earned third place and honorable mention, and in 2020, another recipe by Severson took first.

Mrs. T’s representative Victoria DeHart, national college & university specialist and region sales manager, visited campus in early March to present Severson with the award, which included a $500 gift card.

Severson joined the Dining Services staff at Penn College in 2020. She is a graduate of Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, where she earned associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. Before coming to Penn College, she was the executive chef of dining and catering services at Southwestern Oregon Community College and previously worked in restaurants and health care kitchens.

Mrs. T’s, of Shenandoah, is the nation’s largest producer of frozen pierogies, producing nearly 600 million of the Polish dumplings each year.

PUMPKIN SPICE PIEROGIES

Roasted Root Vegetables
3 parsnips, peeled and large diced
3 carrots, peeled and large diced
3 turnips, peeled and large diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
ground black pepper, to taste
kosher salt, to taste

Combine vegetables, oil and seasonings. Place on sheet pan and roast at 400 F until golden and tender, approximately 45 minutes.

Pumpkin spice pierogies, the first prize recipe developed by Severson
Pumpkin spice pierogies, the first prize recipe developed by Severson

Pumpkin Curry
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 yellow onion, small diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and small diced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
ground black pepper, to taste
kosher salt, to taste
1 can (13 ounce) unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon lime juice

While vegetables are roasting, prepare curry. Combine butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepot. Heat over medium heat until butter has melted.

Add garlic, ginger, onion and pepper. Sweat vegetables in fat until translucent, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes.

Add all spices to the vegetable mixture. Lightly toast until aromatic, approximately 2 minutes.  Stir often.

Add coconut milk and pumpkin puree to mixture. Mix thoroughly.  Over low heat, let curry simmer approximately 10 minutes.  Add honey, Sriracha and lime juice.

Mrs. T’s Pierogies
3 pounds mini pierogies, thawed

Fold pierogies into curry, heating gently to fully cook.  Add roasted vegetables to the curry mixture.

Garnish
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
¼ cup cilantro leaves, packed
¼ cup green onion, sliced
lime wedges

For service, garnish the pumpkin spice pierogies with toasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro, green onion and lime wedges.

(Recipe from Jennifer N. Severson, Bush Campus Center head cook, Pennsylvania College of Technology.)

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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