Monday, July 30, 2012

Francheezie Retro Hot Dog

The Deep-Fried Francheezie
If you’re from Chicago, or the Midwest then you’ve probably tried, or at least heard of a hot dog called a “Francheezie.” Some people say that the Francheezie originated in Chicago. A Francheezie is a jumbo all beef hot dog that has been split up the middle, stuffed with cheddar cheese, wrapped in bacon, secured with toothpicks and dropped into a deep fryer. The francheezie is cooked to golden perfection and then served with mustard, or ketchup.
Cheese Stuffed Hot Dog wrapped in Bacon
My mom never had a deep fryer and had to use the broiler. The only problem was that often the cheese would melt and ooze out before the bacon was cooked. It didn’t matter, they were good anyway.
Francheezie out of the broiler
One day I got to thinking about my mom and got a craving for a Francheezie. I still don’t have a fryer and my Moms method just wouldn’t produce the result that I was looking for, so I just had to reinvent the Francheezie. Then all of a sudden it struck me... "Francheezie en croûte." Why didn't I think  of that before?
All Beef Hot Dogs and Cheddar Cheese
The first thing that I'm going to need is the hot dogs. Being from Chicago I will use a Vienna, or Nathan's brand hot dog. I will also need a good quality cheddar cheese (American cheese won't work here). You can use any cheese that you like. I used cheddar and Swiss for mine. I'm going to need a good quality hickory or Apple wood smoked bacon. Finally, I'm going to need some puff pastry dough sheets (any brand will do). 
The first step is to fry some bacon, drain it, chop it and set it to the side. The next step is to split the hot dogs deep enough that you can open them without cutting through. The next step is to cut some cheese pieces about 1/4" x 1/4" and the length, or half the length of the hot dog. 
Keep cheese cold until ready to use
Grill both sides of the hot dog
The next step is to grill bot sides of the split hot dog. Once grilled, remove them from the pan and set to the side until ready to assemble. When ready put some of the chopped bacon on the inside of each hot dog, followed by the cheese logs that you have cut. Roll these prepared hot dogs in plastic wrap for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator. 
Prepared hot dogs wrapped in plastic
While the hot dogs are chilling roll out the puff pastry dough using a little bit of flour. Using the tines of a fork poke holes in the dough (docking) to avoid air bubbles when baking.
Roll out puff pastry dough
 The next step is to prepare an egg wash to seal the dough around the hot dog and to give it that shiny,  golden brown color. To prepare an egg wash just mix together 1 tablespoon of water and one whole egg yolk. Set this to the side until ready to use.
Place prepared hot dog on puff pastry dough
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the hot dog is in place on the puff dough, brush the egg wash around it. Roll up the dough around the hot dog, tucking in the sides as you roll.  When finished rolling place the rolled hot dog seam side down on the baking sheet. Brush the egg wash all around the dough. 
Egg washed hot dogs

Using any left-over scraps of dough you may decorate the hot dog any way that you like. 
Ready for oven
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the sheet into the oven. Bake until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve. 
Francheezie out of the oven
Let's serve them up. What would go good with a Francheezie en croûte? French fries, cottage cheese and a pepperoncini.
Do you want a bite?
I think that my mother would have loved this version of the francheezie.       

 © TMelle 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Photo source:
Growing up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I never heard of White Castle or their miniature hamburgers and cheeseburgers called “sliders” or “slyders,” until I was in my late twenty’s. That’s because there were no White Castle restaurants in the suburbs at that time. While working in Chicago late one evening I walked into my first White Castle. I was about fourth in line. The guy ahead of me ordered twelve cheese sliders, one French fry and one soft drink. I remember thinking how strange his order was. When I was able to place my order the cashier seemed shocked. "One cheese slider, one order of French fries, and a soft drink." “One slider?” He replied. He immediately knew that I had never had a slider before as he pointed to the grill. “That’s a slider sir. Now how many do you want?” If you don't already know, a slider bun is about 2-1/2"x2-1/2" The square meat on that bun is approximately the same size with the meat being about 1/8" thick. There are about five round holes punched out of the meat, apparently to allow the steam to come through the hamburgers, cooked on a bed of onions, allows the heat to steam the top of the bun too.
Homemade Sliders - I know they're not square
Looking at the grill and these very tiny hamburgers and cheeseburgers with holes cut out of them, I knew right away that one or two of them just wasn’t going to cut it. “I’ll take six.” I replied. I proceeded to my car with my dinner in hand and proceeded to scarf down each and every one of those sliders. I thought about going back to order six more but didn’t. Like most foods that have withstood the test of time, there will always be controversy as to who made the first slider and when. The most common belief is that it was White Castle. The people that love sliders, and there are many are called "Craver's." There is actually a whole "Craver Nation." If you've never had a White Castle slider be sure to add it to your bucket list. Does a slider fit the criteria of "comfort food?" I think it does for many Craver's. To better serve their customers you can buy sliders in the freezer section of your local grocers. For more information about White Castle sliders, visit them at
To thick I think. Back to the drawing board
It seems that the older I get the more concerned I am, or supposed to be about my health. In America we are all familiar with the phrase “super-size it” when ordering fast food and getting the most food and calories, or “bang for your buck.” Today, if we are trying to be politically correct, we are supposed to be downsizing everything to keep fit. Not just the food or drinks that we order, but the size of our plates, and glassware as well. The theory is that a 9 inch plate full of food will satisfy your cravings visually without the calories of a 12 inch plate full of food. The USDA's new food icon is a brightly colored plate that breaks a healthy diet into four main sections: fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins, with a small side of dairy.
Over the past ten years “sliders” have popped up on restaurant menus across the country. Not content with just hamburger and cheeseburgers anymore, the “slider” has been born-again in many forms. Today restaurants everywhere are capitalizing on the slider craze by offering every form of slider they can come up with. There are hamburger sliders, cheeseburger sliders, tenderloin, meatloaf, crab cake, fish sliders, fried-chicken sliders, buffalo chicken sliders, pulled pork sliders… The list is endless. 
Kobe Beef Sliders

Today a slider can be served as a snack, a meal, or in a fancy-schmancy restaurant as a “Amuse Bouche,” pronounced ä-müz-'büsh. But in America we like to “super-size it.” So we don’t just settle for one slider. We want bigger, better and a whole plateful of them.
Three Sloppy Joe Sliders
So one day I entered one of those stores that I am forbidden from entering alone and found a square slider press. I just had to have it and my wife would just have to understand that I needed to make square sliders.
My new slider press
What can I say? It is the perfect tool for making perfectly square sliders. You wouldn't tell a mechanic that he can't have a wrench. Would you?
Right shape, we're getting there
It is starting to smell pretty good around here. I used ground chuck that was 80% lean to make these bad boys. Oh, I forgot the bed of onions. 
Square sliders almost finished
So now that I've made them, how do I fit my homemade sliders on the USDA's new food plate? I guess I could stack all of the buns in the grains section, the meats in the protein section and the onions in the vegetable section. The beer will just have to go in the dairy or fruit section. Better yet leave the plate at home, go to White Castle, grab a sack of sliders and enjoy. Problem solved. I wonder how lobster sliders would taste?
© TMelle 2012