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Carrot Coneys

One food I didn’t miss when I went veg was the hot dog. But last Memorial Day I realized my error. My Beloved considers the store-bought vegan frankfurter a quick occasional lunch, heating a couple to go with a salad. Works for her, meh to me — until the American holiday when I bought some buns and relish.

Turns out that I do relish (pun intended) “the works”: the bread and the condiments with an al dente savory element in the middle. For me, the tofu dog is too much a ringer for a coney, including the sausage-y oily feel. That’s not true of tasty carrot dogs, for which the internet has plenty of recipes. Most of them use a marinade, but a couple used that as a simmering sauce, and that has worked best for me.

  • 4-6 carrots
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon dark (toasted) sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes or dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon molasses (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or dried minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon, scant, liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander OR curry powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • More water
  • Hot dog buns
  • Hot dog condiments like salad mustard, catsup, pickle relish, kraut
  1. Clean and peel carrots. Cut to 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 inch segments for a traditional length dog. Any small root-end stubs can be termed Vienna sausages and added to the pot. Too-thick leaf-end stubs can be halved, and after cooking the flat side can be set against the bun and the curved providing the hot dog appearance. (See notes.)
  2. In a small saucepan combine the other ingredients and stir thoroughly for simmering sauce/marinade. Add broth. Add in carrots, then perhaps a little more water to just cover them.
  3. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 8 minutes. Remove carrots with slotted spoon to a bowl or plate. Reserve the simmering sauce/marinade.
  4. Heat medium nonstick skillet on medium. Add oil-spray or a teaspoon of oil if needed. Add carrots and sauté 5 minutes, turning occasionally and baste several times with spoons of the marinade. The carrots may caramelize or wrinkle in a few spots; that’s all that’s needed.
  5. Serve immediately, with buns and the fixin’s.

Notes

  • If you don’t have all the marinade spices, don’t sweat it. The dogs will still have a remarkably reminiscent flavor.
  • I usually don’t peel carrots, just wash them before using. But here peeling provides a similar smooth surface texture to meat dogs.
  • Related, I usually don’t peel thick carrots down to where they’re the width of a hot dog (3/4 inch to 1 inch wide). That’s wasteful. I’d rather they they be a trifle unrealistic.
  • Simmering the carrots 8 minutes is an approximation. Fatter or older carrots take a little longer. You don’t want school-cafeteria soft carrots, though. My preference is to undercook. Five minutes can be fine. They’re going to the skillet next, anyway.
  • The prep before Step 4 can be done in advance, refrigerating the carrots and, separately, the marinade.
  • Any sort of vinegar is fine, though I’d avoid distilled or white vinegar. The vinegar ought to contribute more flavor than that. A red wine or balsamic would give a little more color, while cider some more pungency.
  • Any leftover simmering solution could be used within a day for a couple more carrots, but it’ll get bitter after that.
  • Where’s the protein focus here? You think real hot dogs have a lot? Add a side of veg baked beans then and call me a picnic.

Adapted from many recipes online but chiefly Best Carrot Dogs from The Edgy Veg and Carrot Dogs from Forks Over Knives.

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