I’ve mentioned several times that my father would sometimes do the cooking whenever he feels like it. (Which is, of course, rarely) Most of the time, this would result in some tasty breakfasts. Even rarely, his Kapampangan-inspired pinakbet made deliciously fragrant with lashings of bagoong alamang. And then there’s this dish which is almost deceptive in its simplicity.
For lack of a better name, he just called it hotdogs in tomato sauce – which pretty much sums up the bulk of the dish’s parts. It’s simply sliced-up supermarket hotdogs (the red ones) sauteed with red onions, a bit of garlic, and given color and character by a generous helping of tomato sauce.
I couldn’t help but think that, if Dad left the sausages unsliced, the dish would be similar to the one on the cover of my mother’s really old cookbook Better Homes and Gardens’ Jiffy Cooking (it’s really old; Mom had it before she got married!) which features a skillet of sausages cooked in a tomato sauce. However, I double checked the recipe from the book and saw that it used tomato soup and powdered beef bouillon to add flavor and color to the sausages.
Strangely enough, it became a fairly popular dish at our house. Seriously, it’s quite versatile. Left alone and served with cocktail picks on small plates, the dish becomes tapas for a round of drinks. You can serve it over rice or over pasta. You can even use it instead of conventional Sloppy Joe sauce for some incredibly hefty sandwiches. Heck, I suppose you could also slather the stuff over leftover focaccia, top it with shredded cheese, and pop it into the toaster oven for some impromptu pizzas.
It’s the sort of dish that appeals to both kids and grown-ups, so it makes an excellent family meal. And it’s also quite flexible: if you don’t have red hotdogs, then by all means use beef franks, cheesedogs, kosher franks, wienerli, schublig, and even cervelat. Plus, the amounts stated below can be changed according to the number of people you’re serving.
Dad’s Saucy Franks
- 6 medium hotdogs, sliced on the bias
- 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced finely
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 200g tomato sauce (the small retort pack or use a small can)
- salt and pepper to taste