I’m a real sucker for proper American hot dogs—a juicy frankfurter covered with caramelized onions and that weirdly addictive sweet mustard. Even better when it is topped with an easy chili con carne. The quantity of chili here will produce enough for leftovers for another night.
First make the quick chili con carne. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add a dash of oil and, once hot, sweat the onion for 4–5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute until soft. Add the cumin seeds and stir over medium heat for 1–2 minutes until aromatic. Add the chili powder and mix well.
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and add another dash of oil to the pan. Cook the beef over high heat for 6–8 minutes, stirring well to break it up. When it is lightly browned, add the Worcestershire sauce, turn down the heat, and add the tomato purée, cooking for 1–2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, granulated sugar, and oregano along with a pinch of pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, prepare the caramelized onions. Heat a small frying pan over medium-low heat and add a dash of oil. Add the onions with a good pinch of salt and gently sweat for 10–15 minutes until completely softened and turning a rich golden color. (Don’t increase the heat to speed up this process as you’ll end up with burnt onions.) Once the onions are golden and very soft, add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Increase the heat to medium and allow to caramelize gently. Cook for about 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced and the onions are nice and sticky. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
When ready to serve, boil or grill the hot dogs for 6 minutes or until heated through. Remove and drain. Divide the caramelized onions between the opened hot dog buns. Top with the cooked hot dogs and a generous spoonful or two of chili con carne. Crumble over the cheese and finish with a sprinkling of chopped scallion.