Recently (thanks to my new show Junk Food Flip) I have been thinking a lot about how to flip classic dishes, especially the meat heavy dishes.
As you know by now (because I've mentioned it about a million times) I like to cook in a way I call Meat On The Side; the idea is that veggies are the star of the plate, not the meat.
When looking at something like a hot dog, it can be a real puzzle trying to figure out how to make it a Meat On The Side staple.
But don't you worry, I have yet to encounter a food puzzle that I couldn't solve. Unlike the tons of crossword puzzles I have come across that I can barely start, much less solve.
I started thinking about a carrot as a hot dog replacemant because it has a similar shape. Sure, I could have just roasted up a carrot and it would be a nice little sandwich, especially with the right fixings (chili and cheese please!). But that just wasn't going to cut it for me…
I had a vision of something more, something better, and after 6 tests I finally have the ultimate Carrot Dog! It's meaty, deep in flavor, looks like a hot dog, and has a similar texture to the original. Quite simply, it's awesome! Carrot Dogs for all!!
servings: 4 carrot dogs
- 4 medium carrots (about 1” thick), peeled
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 4 hot dog rolls
- Combine 1 cup of the vegetable stock, soy sauce, vinegar, liquid smoke, chili powder, paprika, and ginger in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until combined then add the carrots and cover. Cook for 15 minutes then uncover and add the remaining ½ cup of the vegetable broth*, stirring to fully incorporate the broth and flipping the carrots so that all sides are equally covered with the braising liquid; recover and cook until the carrots are tender, but not mushy – about 10 minutes more. The braising liquid should have thickened also.
- Remove the carrots and place in a plastic bag, adding the remaining braising liquid from the pan and the maple syrup. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 1 hour, but up to 24 hours**
- Heat a gas or charcoal grill (or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat). When the grill is hot, place the marinated carrots on the rack and cook until warmed through and grill marks are present on all sides – 2 to 4 minutes.
- Serve immediately on hot dog rolls and finish with your favorite toppings.
- *You may need more vegetable broth than ½ cup, the braising liquid should be slightly thick, but if it looks like it is thickening too much or burning, just add another ¼ cup of broth.
- **If you are short on time, you can skip the marinating step all together. However the flavor of the carrot dogs will be much more like a hot dog (and much less like a carrot) the longer they stay in the marinating liquid.
- The size of the carrots has a big factor in how quickly they will cook and how long it will take to marinate them. You want to look for carrots that are around 1 inch in diameter, this was the best size that I found during (all 6) of my recipe testings.