Summer Fare: Chili Dogs

I've had a hankering for chili dogs lately. Before anyone asks, "Are you pregnant?" I am not, and chili dogs would be the absolute last thing I would crave, if I were pregnant. Chili dog yearning began after seeing an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri, on the Food Network. Wingnut and I love that show, and on this particular episode Guy highlighted a drive-in, in some far off place, that was serving up the most fantastic looking chili dogs. I just had to have one, so I decided I'd try to create a chili recipe myself. I did just that, and the result was just what the doctor ordered. We served the chili over Hebrew National All Beef Franks and topped them with chipotle chili cheese and chopped red onions. Wingnut and Karate Kid had to add sliced pickled jalapenos to theirs, of course. As we sat around the table, happily chowing down on our dogs, the family came up with several other uses for the chili recipe.

Chili for Chili Dogs

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (optional)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons water
1 pound lean ground beef, preferably the thicker ground often labeled for chili
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
14 ounces water

In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, pepper, garlic and 3 tablespoons of water to make a spice paste, set aside. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Add onion when oil begins to shimmer and sprinkle with salt. Saute onions until they are soft and begin to brown. Clear a small space in pan and saute tomato paste and chipotle peppers in that hot spot until they begin to caramelize and become fragrant. Add spice paste and saute for about 30 seconds until spices become fragrant. Stir tomato paste, chipotle peppers, and spice paste into sautéed onions until the onions are evenly coated. Add ground beef to the pan and break up with a wooden spoon, stirring constantly to coat meat in onions and spices. Saute until beef is browned. Add crushed tomatoes and water and stir. Bring chili to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow chili to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about one hour.

Serve chili mixture over hot dogs, nachos, french fries, grilled burgers, or baked potatoes. Add a can or two of drained black beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans and serve chili in bowls topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, onions, etc.


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