Saturday, 9 November 2013

Top diggity dawg

All things American have definitely had a big influence on current food trends this side of the pond. For me, my love affair with the food from the US of A began with my obsession with Man vs Food a few years ago. A prime example of TV at its absolute best. Im sure youve all seen it but for any who havent....the host Adam Richman takes you through Americas best food spots, city by city, then attempts a food challenge of epic proportions. It suddenly became acceptable to eat fast food again, not only that huge portions of the stuff and so the world went crazy creating the biggest, dirtiest, greasiest burgers you could imagine.

The nation's obsession with the burger has moved a little to make room for another American classic, the hot dawg. The humble hound has undergone a gourmet makeover of late with producers boasting all beef hotdogs and a range of ludicrously delicious toppings. Ranging from sticky onions, chilli and cheese to deep fried pickles and even mac 'n cheese topped dogs, the options are literally endless. Move over ketchup and mustard, theres a new top dog in town, and it tastes friggin awesome.

These drool worthy dogs are worlds apart from the 49p Ikea specials. A flaccid sweaty frank sitting in a roll so cheap it dissolves almost before it gets to your mouth. Despite the poor quality there is something wrongly delicious about these hotdogs, a guilty pleasure that can be eaten in just a few quick bites after a no doubt horrific shopping trip. The evidence craftily destroyed in under a minute.

What I love most about hotdogs is their ability to be eaten at both my favourite times of year. Bangers are a must at any BBQs during the long, hot summer days. Slightly burnt, topped with charred onions and Heinz ketchup and served in a finger roll with an ice cold beer. Summer in a bun! In sharp contrast, yet just as good, the delicious Bratwursts served in a crusty roll at the delightful German Christmas markets, washed down with a steaming mug of mulled wine. Christmas in a bun! Just dont have too many mulled wines or youll be likely to leave with a LOT of German trinkets your relatives are unlikely to thank you for come Christmas Day. Or a reindeer rug.what?.. it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So for my go at a hot diggity dawgI knew I had a sausage making kit hanging about in the cupboard somewhere that I hadnt had chance to test out yet. Perfect. I could make my own gourmet hotdog. I was thinking stick to the classics and go for a seasoned pork and beef dog, and top it with some rich beef chilli and grated cheese. Yum. Heres how it went.

Chilli, cheese dogs
Makes 6
I doubt you have a sausage making kit at home, so just pick your favourite bangers.

400g steak mince
50g diced chorizo
50g diced pancetta or bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp each hot chilli powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, chilli flakes, garlic powder and onion powder
1 tbsp chipotle paste
1 heaped tbsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
glass wine
400ml beef stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can beans
2 squares dark chocolate
bunch coriander, chopped
6 good quality hotdog rolls
100g grated cheese, I used a mix of Monterey jack, as its American innit, mixed with some good old-fashioned cheddar for a cheesy kick.
6 sausages
ketchup and mustard

1 Heat a large dry non stick frying pan, tip in the beef and a pinch of salt and pepper and fry until browned breaking up with a wooden spoon while it cooks to remove any lumps. Pretend the beef is someone you hate in the face and give it a good old bash. (NB the Nev doesnt condone violence of any sort). Once brown, tip out onto a plate.

2 Chuck in the bacon and chorizo. Fry until starting to crisp and all the oils are releasing into the pan, then add the onion and green pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add all the spices, chipotle paste, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and sugar and mix well. Cook for a coupe of mins then add the wine and bubble until almost evaporated.

3 In goes the stock and the tomatoes along with the beans, now let it simmer. As long as you can really. On a low heat, a couple of hours if you can bear it. Better yet whack it in the slow cooker for the day. Once thickened and chilli like check the seasoning, then add the chocolate and coriander.

4 Grill the sausages until cooked. Put into the rolls, add a little cheese, top with ketchup and mustard, then a spoon of chilli and more cheese. Eat with lots and lots of napkins.

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