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Cookie Monster’s Sausage and Zucchini Strata
- 3 mild, dried ancho chili peppers, stemmed and seeded
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 rounded teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 rounded teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 rounded teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon chili powder, preferred brand Gebhardt’s
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup room temperature lager beer
- 2 tablespoons masa harina or cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon light agave syrup
- 1 14-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
- 8 to 10 good quality, foot-long, all-natural hot dogs
- Melted butter, for brushing rolls
- 8 to 10 New England-style hot dog rolls (the kind you can griddle on both sides)
- 2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- Minced raw sweet onion or pico de gallo (chopped tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, red onion, cilantro, salt), for garnish
Heat a medium cast-iron pot or your favorite chili pot over medium-high heat.
Place anchos in a small saucepot with beef stock and bring to low simmer, cook to reconstitute peppers then purée. Reserve the stock.
Heat oil in chili pot. When it smokes and ripples, add the beef and caramelize, crumbling the beef as it cooks. Add dried spices, salt and pepper; stir to toast spices. Add onions and garlic, and reduce heat a bit. Partially cover and sweat onions a few minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cook 1 minute then add beer and stir to evaporate. Add masa or cornmeal, the stock the peppers were cooked in, the ancho purée, agave syrup and beans. Simmer to combine flavors.
Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a large skillet. Add franks to cook through.
Heat a large griddle pan over medium heat. Brush sides of hot dog rolls and griddle them until deeply golden. Split the rolls down center if they were not precut. Griddle dogs to crisp the casings then place the crispy-skinned dogs in rolls and top each with a little shredded cheddar and lots of chili. Garnish with minced sweet onions or pico de gallo.