Saturday, October 16, 2010

RECIPE - Cachorro Quente - The Brazilian Hot Dog

You can find a hot dog, or a facsimile of one, in almost any corner of the world. But it's only in Brazil, at least in my own limited linguistic experience, where you find on a menu a literal translation of the English-language term "hot dog." In Brazil these little puppies are called "cachorro quente" which is pronounced ka-SHO-ho KEN-tche and which literally means "dog hot."

Hot dogs are tremendously popular in Brazil, and commercial streets are full of hot-dog stands which normally sell the dogs, soft drinks, french fries and most likely hamburgers as well. They're cheap, they're filling, and Brazilians love them as much as people do elsewhere in the world whether they're good for you or not. (They're not.)

Although the basic sausage in a hot dog doesn't vary much from region to region and country to country, how the hot dog is dressed and presented can differ in large degree from one city to another. In the USA there's the Chicago dog, midwestern Coneys, Los Angeleno chili dogs, Rhode Island's "New York System" etc. etc. etc. Montreal has its"steamé" and Berlin its currywurst. None of these however, in my opinion, outdo the Brazilian cachorro quente in sheer excess and extravagance - a "completo" almost literally has everything but the kitchen sink. Very early on weekend mornings, say 3 to 5 a.m., people leaving bars and clubs all over Brazil find their favorite hot dog vendor somewhere on the street - just a cart and maybe some small plastic stools - and stuff themselves before they head home to sleep it off. During big street parties like New Year's and Carnaval these vendors sell their hot dogs, and customers buy them, 24 hours a day.

This week, the reputable food section of the Folha de S. Paulo, the largest newspaper in São Paulo, featured the recipe for a typical Brazilian fully-dressed hot dog. If the cachorro quente is good enough for the gourmet section of this newspaper, it's good enough for Flavors of Brazil, so I'm providing the recipe here, in my own translation and adaptation. This dog is featured at a chain of fast food restaurants called General Prime Burger, and it's called the "cachorro quente turbinado" meaning "jet-propelled hot dog".

This is easy to make anywhere in the world, as none of the ingredients are exotic or difficult to source in most places. Next time there's a pool party, backyard bbq, or block party in your neighborhood, bring some Brazilian folk-culture along and serve "cachorros quentes."
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RECIPE - Cachorro Quente Turbinado

For the hot dog:
hot dog bun
hot dog, steamed or boiled
mashed potatoes (see recipe below)
crunchy bacon bits (see recipe below)
mayonnaise
vinagrete (see recipe below)
shoestring potatoes, commercially packaged

Cut the hot dog bun open from the top, but do not cut it into two. Fill it with mashed potatoes, push a hot dog into the potatoes, then top with bacon bits and shoestring potatoes. Serve with mayonnaise and vinagrete.

For the mashed potatoes:
2 medium boiling potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
ground nutmeg to taste
salt to taste

Boil the potatoes until very tender, then mash with masher or mixer. Add the cream, butter and olive oil then whip the potatoes until light. Add nutmeg and salt to taste.

For the bacon:
Two thick slices smoked bacon

Cut the bacon into small cubes. Fry until crisp, then drain on paper towels.


For the vinagrete:
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp. vinegar
olive oil to taste
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley to taste

Mix the chopped tomato and onion in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and stir to mix. Add oil as desired, then salt and pepper. Mix again, then sprinkle the chopped parsley on top.

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