Vegging out at the Super Bowl. 

Charred Carrot Hotdogs

Justin Fox Burks

Charred Carrot Hotdogs

The Super Bowl is coming up, and while I don't give a hoot about who wins or loses, I do care deeply about the game. Is it the commercials? No! Could it possibly be the half-time show? Nope! It's the food, of course!

And though I don't have a dog in the fight, I came up with recipes that replace the hotdog and sausage with whole, fresh vegetables. Go ahead and give these recipes a shot. They are so easy, and it'll give y'all something to talk about if the game gets boring.

Charred Carrot Hotdogs

6 very large carrots*

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

6 whole wheat or gluten-free hot dog buns

Vegetarian chili, cheddar cheese, chopped white onion, sauerkraut, pickles,

ketchup, spicy mustard (to serve)

Over a high flame on your outdoor grill's side burner or under your oven's broiler, char the carrots until they are deeply blackened all over. This will take roughly 20 minutes if you turn the carrots 1/4 turn every 5 minutes. Once they are sufficiently blackened, remove them and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Allow the charred carrots to rest for 15 minutes. They will finish cooking through during that time, and the smoke flavor will infuse throughout.

If they are cool enough to handle, pull the char off of each carrot just like you would for a roasted red pepper. Drizzle the carrots with sesame oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to warm them up on the grill if you'd like; serve them on a bun with your favorite toppings. (Serves 4-6.)

*Look for the carrots that are about as big around as a half-dollar and have very little taper to them. The biggest carrots you can find are what's going to work best here. They shrink slightly during the cooking process, and then you pull off the charred part, so they will be smaller once it comes time to eat.

click to enlarge Mushroom-Stuffed Mushrooms - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Mushroom-Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushroom-Stuffed Mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot

3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

8 ounces portobello or other mushrooms (finely chopped)

1 cup finely chopped celery (about 2 ribs)

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (1 medium)

1 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon clove

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon soy sauce (like Bragg's)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon spicy mustard (like Zatarain's)

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats 

12 to 15 large crimini or button mushroom caps

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or vegan shreds)

1/4 cup sliced green onions

Use your food processor to make short work of all of the chopping. Just roughly chop shallot, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and carrots, and process them in batches by pulsing the blade until finely chopped.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large 12-inch frying pan over high heat. Add the chopped shallot, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and carrot to the pan. Stir consistently and sauté until all of the liquid has released and then evaporated; this should take about 5 minutes. Add the sage, red pepper flakes, clove, nutmeg, soy sauce, and maple syrup to the pan. Stir to incorporate and remove from heat. Add the uncooked quick-cooking oats and stir the mixture until everything is well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow the moisture to distribute.

Preheat your over to 350 degrees. Pull the stem out of each mushroom cap and save for another use. Place mushrooms gill-side-up in a large casserole dish. Drizzle the caps with the remaining olive oil, and season caps with a little salt and pepper. Using your hands, mound as much filling into each cap as you can. Gently press it in so that it fills all of the air pockets. Repeat until all filling is used.

Cover casserole dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, top each with cheddar and bake another 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with sliced green onions and serve. These can be served warm or at room temperature.

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