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Hot Dog Quandary

If I've been asked once, I've been asked a hundred times... when people hear I'm from New York City, they want to know where they can find that reddish-orange onion sauce that hot dog vendors serve on the streets of the Big Apple.

New York City dogs, under that blue and yellow Sabrett umbrella, are a memory as strong as any in my childhood. The dogs, long and thin, sitting in the cart's boiled water. The vendor taking the long fork, spearing the dog and in one smooth motion slapping it into an untoasted bun. The tube-like mustard spreader and then, in my case, a load of sauerkraut.

But for many, the condiment of choice is an onion sauce of uncommon goodness: warm, full of onions, with a tomatoey flavor and a touch of hard-to-identify spice. And one that many away from New York would love to find in a jar, or make themselves.

Well, it's quite easy, if you know what to search for: The operative Googling term is "New York pushcart onion sauce." And with the Cowboys heading to New York/New Jersey to take on the Giants, the time for New York dogs is this weekend.

You'll find several possible recipes here. The first one is the simplest and most common, and it goes something like this, though I have modified slightly:

Two tablespoons vegetable oil
Two onions, sliced into long, very thin strips
1/3 cup ketchup
A pinch of ground cinnamon
Tabasco to taste
A pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup of water

In a skillet, saute the onions in the oil (medium heat). At a minumum, you want them to start browning and be limp. If you like, you can let them get darker, but don't go so far as to let them carmelize.

In a slow cooker, mix the cooked onions with the spices and ketchup. Then stir in the water until you have a fully mixed sauce. Slow cook for at least a couple of hours.

And the perfect slow cooker for this? Why the one we're giving away, of course, in our contest for the best chili recipe.

By Jonathan Krim  |  October 31, 2008; 9:00 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Talking NY food when skins are playing Pittsburgh? Come on now, how about how to make a Rothles-burger or as a local from them parts recommended I make a pepperoni roll.

Posted by: Alex35332 | November 3, 2008 11:16 AM

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