Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and Hot Dogs Get the Breakfast Treatment
Chicago is the hog butcher to the world, the second-to-none city of broad shoulders and bigger appetites. Chicago doesn’t do small and dainty. (See: un-foldable deep-dish pizza so thick and packed with cheese and sausage it should come with a warning label from the surgeon general. Also: hot dogs with a whole damn salad piled on top.) Chicago takes its food seriously without taking itself too seriously, starting with breakfast. I’m a fifth-generation Chicagoan, cook, and eater, and I was raised to believe in the deep joy that comes from feeding and being fed—even when it isn’t gorgeous enough to Instagram. Especially when it isn’t gorgeous. Serve me spectacularly messy food on big plates with a big heart and big portions. But Chicago is also internationally renowned for super-fancy restaurants like Alinea, Grace, EL Ideas, and 42 Grams, with plates that are artful and meticulous. We cheer on those tweezer-wielding food art geniuses with the same passion that we use for our frequently heartbreaking sports teams. Chicago also has some of the most mind-blowing super-casual dining anywhere. You just have to dig into a steaming plate of succulent carnitas at Don Pedro, take a bite of the Tiger Cry at Opart, dig into the house made loukaniko sausage at Mythos, or experience the sublime nopales at Mas Alla Del Sol, and you will break out your own personal Bib Gourmand list and start handing out stars.So when Extra Crispy asked me for recipes for Chicago-fied breakfast, I thought I’d fully embrace the dishes that you think we’re famous for. Because it is both possible and wonderful to dig into classic deep-dish pizza or Chicago hot dogs first thing in the morning, and in the true spirit of the city, you should do so with neither regret nor apology. These are not grab-and-go or recipes to fuel you for an energetic day. I want you to eat something yummy, then take a little nap before thinking about the next glorious thing you’re going to eat. You want nutrition? Grab a yogurt sprinkled with chia and head for spin class. When you’re ready to embrace your dark hedonistic desire for deeply sensual culinary pleasures, Chicago and I are ready to welcome you home. Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Baked EggsThis play on the classic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza honors the best of that indulgence, and lightens it up just enough to make breakfast satisfying, but not coma-inducing. The classic butter cornmeal crust is here, just a lot thinner. Cheese and sausage to be sure, but in rational amounts. Plus an egg, because it’s breakfast, after all. You can alter the fillings to your personal tastes.IngredientsDragged Through the Garden Hot Dog HashChicago is serious about hot dogs. There are rules. Vienna Beef, minimum 6 to the pound natural casing. Poppy-seed bun. The Seven Samurai of toppings: tomatoes, onion, neon green pickle relish, dill pickle spear, yellow mustard, sport peppers, celery salt. It’s a full meal: protein, starch, and vegetables in a quick to eat single package. Particularly good with crispy fries, crinkle cuts preferred. It is not required that you eat your Chicago Dogs with all of these, as long as anyone over the age of ten promises to eschew ketchup. The great thing about a classic Chicago Dog is that it is so balanced. Deep, beefy umami from the dog itself, brightness from the mustard, salt from the pickle, acid from the tomato, crunch from the onion, sweetness from the relish, heat from the peppers—it hits all of your mouth at once. This breakfast twist breaks the dog down into its component parts to reimagine it. I refuse to use the word "deconstructed" on principle. IngredientsStacey Ballis is a Chicago-based author and recipe developer.