Cookbook author and food blogger Serena Wolf stopped by our Test Kitchen recently to make what she's calling her "chronic" chili cheese dogs. Beef hot dogs are nestled into whole-grain buns before getting topped with bison chili and cheddar cheese. It's a dish that's indulgent yet healthy(ish) enough to go back for seconds without the guilt.
Wolf even shared her pro tip for hot dog perfection: Cut a small "x" into each end of each dog, and the casing won't burst as it heats up. You'll be left with the perfect vessel to smother in chili. If you can't find ground bison, feel free to use lean ground beef.
Chili Cheese Dogs
Recipe adapted from 'The Dude Diet,' by Serena Wolf
Yield: 8 hot dogs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 ounces ground bison
One 14½-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
8 beef hot dogs
8 whole-grain hot dog buns
Grated sharp cheddar cheese, for garnish
Minced red onion, for garnish
Chopped pickled jalapeños, for garnish
1. In a 4½-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sweat until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
2. Add the ground bison and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce and Worcestershire, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes. Season with salt.
3. While the chili simmers, heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Using a paring knife, cut a small "x" into each end of each hot dog to prevent the casings from bursting. Grill the dogs, turning as needed, until lightly browned and swollen, 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Place each hot dog into a bun and spoon over the chili. Garnish with cheddar cheese, red onion and pickled jalapeños, then serve.