Posted August 05, 2005 10:00 AM

I started experimenting with the "Update" version (below) of the Lafayette Coney Island recipe last night. It comes out too spicy, too hot. I didn't taste the Campbell's Fiesta Chili Beef Soup* right out of the can before I added it into the other ingredients, so maybe that was why, but I also suspect that only half the envelope of taco seasoning mix would have been enough. (I found the "chili beef soup"* - which had so befuddled me - at L&L ShopRite! for $1.35 per 11.5 oz. can. In-store Meijer folks never heard of it - until I went to the Meijer online help desk; they knew of it, and said it was just out of stock and to keep checking for it. I also found it available at online grocers, like The Candy Store - for $1.45/can) I added the rest of the 32-oz V8 bottle I bought too; the recipe calls for 12 oz., but you can't buy just 12 oz of V8 unless you get, like, a six-pack of those little, 6-oz. cans.
I used a little fresh chopped onion in the mix instead of the dry onions called for because a.) I don't even know if Meijer sells dried onions, and b.) if they do, I have no idea where in the store they'd be. Besides, I'd always put fresh chopped onions directly over the chili just before eating anyway. And, as I said, the mixture was hot enough as it was.
I also remembered that somewhere I'd heard that you're supposed to put some of the mixture you've made in a blender and blend in some hot dogs - to make a smoother puree. I blended down six hot dogs along with about half the mixture I'd made - and stirred that back into the original mixture. I also added the little bit of really hot water I used to rinse the puree residual from the sides of the blender, for additional help in 'cooling down' the mixture. I think the sweet relish called for in the recipe helps with this too, and I'll be generous with relish going forward.
I'll tell you what - - - it's not half bad! I'm definitely gaining on this quest, and can see now that it's only a matter of time before I replicate accurately a good coney island sauce. Oh, what a Happy Day that will be!!!!
Also, I found what I think are the perfect hot dog buns: Brownberry Carb Counting 100% Whole Wheat buns. They really are made with whole wheat flour - but they're really light. I steam these in a pot-and-colander set; I find that if you put a square of folded-up aluminum foil under the buns, they'll steam well but not get soaked or soggy. The buns will steam about right if you turn on the heat - on high - under the pot (not very much water in the pot - just enough to make steam) at the same time you start the 5-minute microwaving of the hot dogs - which I place in the microwave in a shallow container with water that almost covers the dogs; if the water only comes half way up the dogs, the dogs'll split. If you turn the heat off under the buns at about 4-minutes, the residual heat will steam the buns just right. I think the healthiest hot dogs, for the taste, are Ball Park Bun Size Smoked White Turkey Franks; although satisfactory in every other way, they don't have that highly-desirable "snap" when you bite into 'em - that you find at Lafayette or National.
Between the whole-wheat buns and the turkey franks I think you're getting the desired taste experience but in a much healthier coney dog.


In a deep skillet, brown 1 lb. ground round in just enough oil to cover bottom of pan. Stir and crumble til no longer pink. Mash with fork to consistency of rice and keep on low heat. Meanwhile you put into a blender: 14 oz. clear chicken broth, 4 T. flour, 1 T. chili powder, 1T. paprika, 1 t. ground cumin, 1 t. turmeric, 1 T. chicken bouillon powder (or 3 cubes mashed) and 6 oz. V-8 juice. Blend briefly to combine, add to meat and stir til smooth and thickened. Remove 2 c. mixture to a blender, puree and return. Serve spooned over hot-dogs or in bowls as a chili.
(serves 6)

UPDATE: Heat 2 cans (11 oz. ea.) chili beef soup, (12 oz.) V-8 juice, 1 envelope taco seasoning mix, 2 T. sweet pickle relish and 2 T. dry chopped onion. Leftovers freeze well for months.
(serves 6-8)