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 Eggs
This 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.
Dragged Through the Garden Hot Dog Hash
Chicago 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.
Stacey Ballis is a Chicago-based author and recipe developer.
For the crust:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed
1 cup flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal (not too coarse)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons buttermilk or sour cream
1/3 cups cold water
For the filling:
2 large ripe red tomatoes, seeded and diced (approximately 1½ cups)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning herb blend, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 teaspoons cornmeal
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
½ pound cooked crumbled mild Italian sausage, drained and cooled
6 large eggs
For the garnishes:
Italian seasoning or dried oregano
Red pepper flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil
For the hash:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound natural-casing Vienna Beef hot dogs, chopped
1 ½ cup frozen crinkle-cut French fries, cooked to package directions and then chopped coarsely (I prefer Ore-Ida Extra Crispy, for obvious reasons)
1 cup tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup white or yellow onion, chopped fine
2-4 sport peppers, sliced into thin rings—these can pack some heat, so use them to your taste, or serve on the side
For the eggs:
4 poppy-seed hot dog buns
4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 ½ tablespoons yellow mustard
8 large eggs
For the garnish:
1 half dill pickle or one spear, chopped fine—try to use a traditional dill here, Claussen is good
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, neon green if you can find it
How to Make It
Make the crust. Mix the buttermilk or sour cream into the water and set aside. Blend dry ingredients in a medium bowl, and with a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mix until the butter pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle ¾ of the water mixture over the flour butter mixture and blend with a fork to distribute. Check to see if the dough holds together and is not sticky. If it doesn’t hold together, add more of the water mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a malleable dough. Press the dough into a disc, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours to overnight. Note: Since this is usually a breakfast or brunch item, I make the dough the night before, rest it, then put it into the muffin tin and cover the tin with plastic wrap so that I can wake up and just fill and go in the morning.
Start the garnish. Mix garnish ingredients together and set aside.