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Time to SPAM it up

By Staff | Dec 11, 2015

SIOUX CITY FIRE FIGHTER Phil Marchand prepares chicken tortilla SPAM soup for a noon time meal at Sioux City No. 4 fire station.



SIOUX CITY – Many meals throughout the United States have their origins in a readily familiar can containing, at present, 18 varieties of SPAM.

The meat product, produced by Hormel Foods in Austin, Minnesota; Fremont, Nebraska and Dubuque, first rolled off the company’s Austin production line in 1937. It gained popularity during World War II.

An estimated 500 family pork producers across the Midwest, including northwest Iowa, supply the meat for SPAM, which is primarily pork shoulder with spices.

THE SPAM BREAKFAST BOWL with Bacon SPAM, the basic ingredient, with eggs, hash browns and cheese is among Marchand’s fire house recipe favorites.

Additional pork processed into the product comes from four company-owned production facilities in Arizona, California, Colorado and Wyoming, according to Jan Nolander, with Hormel’s grocery products marketing.

Phil Marchand, a Sioux City firefighter, is among the department’s rotating cooks.

He was recently featured in a newly-published book, “Fully Involved,” a department history edited by George and Lou Ann Lindblade and Christine McAvoy, all of Sioux City.

Marchand champions SPAM as an awesome menu option for his fellow firefighters.

Marchand, a native of Minnesota’s northern Iron Ridge country, said he and his two younger brothers grew up in a family where SPAM was often found on the table.

THE SPAM BREAKFAST BOWL with Bacon SPAM, the basic ingredient, with eggs, hash browns and cheese is among Marchand’s fire house recipe favorites.

Both his mother and father enjoyed sharing their time in the kitchen.

“That’s where I first got interested in cooking and learned how seasonings and sauces made a difference in we what we had,” he said. “It progressed, you might say, from there to where I began developing what I felt was tasty to the palate.

“Dad’s side of the family also did a lot of things with SPAM and later while in college used it quite a bit,” Marchand added.

He’s been cooking ever since he joined the department 13 years ago and has shared cooking duties with Dan Cougill, assistant fire chief.

“The two of us decided to ramp up the meal possibilities.”

He said they started simple with SPAM burritos, egg bake, breakfast pizza and Hawaiian (pineapple) and jalapeno burgers.

“Another recipe, one that personally blew my mind was a SPAM pumpkin pie that I want to try another time,” he said. “It’s basically a pumpkin pie, but with pureed SPAM with added pumpkin pie spice.”

Other add-ons to his list of favorites are a white chili judged Iowa’s best in a Little Rock, Iowa SPAM competition and spiraled, slow cooker SPAMetta made from spiraled SPAM and served on a hard roll.

“What with so many varieties available it’s no longer just throwing SPAM into something and using as you would traditionally,” Marchand said, admitting he often changes a recipe to create a new taste. “How it can be used has morphed into doing whatever you imagine you can do.”

The fire department has also been communicating with Hormel via Twitter, resulting in interchanges between the Austin processor and his department.

Marchand said he relies on SPAM at home as well as work often readying meals for his two children, Judd, 10 and Remy, 7, and wife, Kimberly, a United Parcel Service employee especially busy at the holiday season.

“Not only do they also enjoy it,” Marchand said, “but the way I figure it, if it was good enough to feed our hungry troops in World War II, it’s good for us as well.”

SPAM breakfast bowl

Bacon SPAM

2 eggs

Hashbrowns (with or without peppers and onions)

Sour cream

Shredded cheese

Take one whole can of Bacon SPAM and hollow out the middle leaving and shaping the SPAM into a bowl. Save and shave the contents.

Scramble eggs and place inside the SPAM bowl with shavings from saved contents.

Place in the oven at 350 degrees until egg is cooked through.

Prepare hashbrowns per package instructions.

When done mix hashbrowns with sour cream to taste. Add SPAM shavings.

When SPAM egg bowl is thoroughly cooked, top with hashbrown mix and shredded cheese.

Place back into the oven until cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy.

(Note: Modify by using plain hashbrowns, adding green onion, and red and green peppers.)

Black pepper SPAM


Black Pepper SPAM

Sour cream

Grape tomatoes

Crackers of choice

Cut one can of Black Pepper SPAM into chucks and place in a blender.

Add sour cream and blend the SPAM into a smooth paste. Add sour cream as needed.

Use as a dip for chips, or as a spread on favorite crackers.

It’s great on Triscuit.

Garnish with grape tomato and/or pepper jack cheese.

Chicken tortilla

SPAM soup

Olive oil

Green pepper

Onion, chopped

2 cloves minced garlic

1 can green chilies

Chicken bouillon cubes

3 cups cooked chicken, shredded

Chorizo SPAM

1 can tomato sauce

1 can Rotel

2 cans black beans

2 cups frozen corn

Worchestershire sauce


Chili powder

Red hot sauce

Tortilla chips

Shredded cheese

Sour cream

In a skillet heat oil. Add peppers, onions, and Worchestershire sauce to taste.

Cook until soft. Add garlic, chilies and Rotel. Simmer for 5 minutes.

In a separate pan dice the Chorizo SPAM and saute with butter.

In a stock pot boil 12 cups water. Add bullion cubes.

Drain and rinse black beans.

Add chicken, beans, tomato sauce, SPAM and corn to pot.

Bring to a boil.

Add your pepper mix from the skillet to the pot.

Season with a pinch of cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.

Return pot to a boil.

Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips and garnished with cheese and sour cream.

(Note: You can boil three large bone-in chicken breasts with the bullion cubes for more chicken flavor.

Shred with a fork.

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