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~ A Hot Dog with a Salad On Top? Only in Chicago! ~

IMG_2647As I've mentioned before here on Kitchen Encounters, aside from a few layovers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, my direct experiences with Illinois are limited to three:  #1)  Piccalilli (a highly-seasoned, bright-green colored, sweet pickle relish), which my neighbor Jane (from Champaign, IL) gave me her recipe for (about 18-20 years ago).  #2)  One Chicago-style deep-dish pizza at Uno's Pizzeria on Rush Street.  #3)  Chicago-style hot dogs in full regalia, which I devoured during those layovers at the airport.  My first Chicago Dog was love at first bite!

Making a Chicago Dog is called:  Dragging it through the garden!

13200A bit about the Chicago-style hot dog:  As the story goes, it got its start from the street vendors who sold hot dogs from their push-carts during the great depression.  For a nickle, a poor person in search of a job could get a hot, delicious meal on a bun consisting of:  

a simmered or steamed all-beef hot dog (no fillers), preferably Vienna brand

a poppy-seeded hot dog bun 

then, topped with a specific combo of ingredients that work in harmony to create a party in your mouth:

Imagesyellow ballpark-type mustard

bright green sweet pickle relish (the color of of kriptonite)

diced sweet onions, preferably Vidalia

two ripe, juicy tomato wedges, not slices

a mildly-seasoned, deli-style, kosher pickle spear

a couple of whole sport peppers, not sliced or diced

                                                                  a dash of celery salt

Without any one of these components, you, my friend, are not eating a Chicago-style hot dog...

Want ketchup on that Chicago Dog?  They'll call the food police!

IMG_2458When I set out to write this post, I wanted it to be authentic as a foodie from Central PA could make it, so, I ordered a couple of ingredients on line, namely, the signature kryptonite-colored pickle relish and the sport peppers.  Penn State is playing Northwestern right here in Happy Valley's Beaver stadium tomorrow and I'm entertaining guests from 'Chi-Town' afterward.  I tried to order poppy-seeded hot dog rolls too, but found them impossible to get.  Then, I had one of my brainstorms:

IMG_2468Every once in a while you will hear me sing the praises of a store-bought mix.  This is such a time.  Today, I am praising Pillsbury's hot roll mix.  As someone who can and does bake their own bread and rolls, I am here to tell you, in a pinch, this mix makes tasty pull-apart dinner rolls and cinnamon buns. I could not think of one reason why it wouldn't do the same for poppy-seeded hot dog rolls, and, I was right!

Now that I've done it once, I'm going to be making "homemade" hot dog (and hamburger) rolls on a regular basis.  The only thing better than a great hot dog is:  a great hot dog served on a fresh, easy-to-make roll!

IMG_2581It's time to put the Pillsbury Dough Boy to work!

IMG_2471~ Step 1.  Stir together, in a large bowl, the contents of:

the hot roll mix, and,

the yeast packet.

Bring to room temperature,

1 large egg, and,

2  tablespoons  salted butter.

IMG_2478Have ready:

1 cup very hot tap water, and,

1/4 cup all-purpose "bench" flour.

~ Step 2.  Using your fingertips, make a well in the center of the dry roll/yeast mixture.  

Add the softened butter to the hot water and let it sit about 15-20 seconds, to soften the butter a bit further, but not melt it completely.  

Add the water/butter mixture and the egg to the hot roll mix.

IMG_2486~ Step 3.  Using your fingertips, begin to mix the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and a stickly mass forms.

~ Step 4.  Adding the additional flour, in small amounts as you work, knead the dough in the bowl for about 5 minutes, pressing down and away from you with the heel of your hand, giving the bowl a quarter turn each time you press down.  

IMG_2494~ Step 5.  Shape dough into a ball, cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 5-6 minutes.

~ Step 6.  You will have 28 ounces of dough. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, each weighing 4 1/2 ounces on a kitchen scale.

IMG_2503~ Step 7.  One at a time, roll form/flatten each piece of dough into a 6" oval...









... fold each oval into thirds, lengthwise, in this manner:

Lift and fold the top side down and into the center.  Using a firm but gentle touch, seal the seam with your fingertips.  Lift and fold the bottom side up and into the center. Using a firm but gentle touch, seal the seam with your fingertips.  Roll the "log" over, seam side down and tuck the left and right sides underneath, to form a hot dog roll!

IMG_2501~ Step 8.  Line a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment with some softened or melted butter.   Lightly sprinkle the parchment with poppy seeds.

~ Step 9.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

IMG_2516~ Step 10.  Arrange the rolls on the pan, about 3/4" from each other.  

Note:  Because these are hot dog rolls, I want them to be soft-sided, and pull-apart.  If you want to use these for sandwich rolls, arrange them farther apart.

Cover entire pan with a lint-free kitchen towel and allow rolls to rise for 15 minutes (not until doubled).

IMG_2523 IMG_2527~ Step 11. Melt 2 tablespoons salted butter in the microwave.  Using a pastry brush and a light touch, one at a time, lightly paint the entire surface of each roll with butter then sprinkle it with poppy seeds.

IMG_2541~ Step 12.  Bake on center rack of preheated 375 degree oven about 10-12 minutes.  

Note:  Hot dog rolls will be lightly browned and sound hollow when lightly tapped with the knuckle of your index finger, but, they will still seem soft.  This is what you want:

Nice, pillow-y soft, hot dog rolls!

Cool in pan about 5 minutes. Carefully separate and place on a rack to cool completely:



It's time cook and assemble some Chicago Dogs!

IMG_2587A bit about the hot dogs:  The key to the Chicago Dog is to choose an all-beef kosher frank that contains no fillers, no by-products, no artificial flavors and no artificial colors.  For me, this was an easy decision.  These Hebrew National franks are the only hot dogs I eat here in PA.  I been serving them exclusively for many years now, and, I don't think anyone from Chicago will lodge any complaints!

IMG_2594Keep in mind that hot dogs are already fully-cooked.  I've been told that Chicago Dogs are typically simmered or steamed, or, sometimes grilled.  I'm just going to put mine about 8" underneath a preheated broiler for about 6-8 minutes, giving them 1/4 turn, every 1 1/2-2 minutes, to evenly heat them (not brown) on all four sides.

Before cooking your hot dogs (in any manner you desire), prep and have all of your ingredients ready and waiting.  How much of each ingredient you prep will depend entirely on how you want to assemble your Chicago Dog. Here's how I put mine together:

IMG_2597 IMG_2600 IMG_2603




IMG_2626A Hot Dog with a Salad on Top?  Only in Chicago!:  Recipe yields instructions to make 6 hot dog rolls (doubling the recipe is easy), and, the ingredients list to properly make Chicago dogs.

Special Equipment List:  large mixing bowl; fork; plastic wrap; kitchen scale (optional); wooden pastry board; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; lint-free kitchen towel; pastry brush

6a0120a8551282970b0134892d3b28970c-800wiCook's Note:  For another one of my hot dog specialties, you can get my recipe for ~ Mel's Texas-Style Chili Sauce & Texas Chili Dogs ~ in Categories 2, 10, 17 or 22!  

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012) 


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