Friday, December 28, 2007

Wiener Bun Junk

Growing up in Michigan and Missouri, winters were bitter cold, very snowy or just cold, damp a rainy. Or any combination thereof. The first sign of winter was the change in comfort food. The winter version that still is the ultimate cold weather lunch is "wiener bun junk". My Mom got this from who knows where but was a hit for all 5 of us kids growing up.

Easy enough to prep, makes a ton for a few days of lunches for the gang. Totally satisfying to have that warm hot dog bun full of melted cheese and meat. It makes you ready to head out again for the afternoon sledding or whatever one does in the winter. With Velveeta and Spam, two of the important Midwestern food groups, how bad can it be? The recipe:

Wiener Bun Junk
1 lb Velveeta brand processed cheese food
1 can Spam
1 onion - sliced in to 6 or so chunks
1/2 green pepper - sliced into 3-4 chunks
2 T mayo or miracle whip
1 T tomato paste or ketchup
Hot Dog Buns.
Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 350F.

Slice the cheese into 6 chunks that will fit into your food grinder feed tube. Do the same with your Spam. Start feeding your ingredients starting with cheese, alternating between chunks and ending with a vegie chunk into a large bowl below the extruding end of your food grinder. Add mayo and tomato product. Gently fold ingredients until combined.

Split hot dog buns. Cut piece of foil about 12-16 inches long. Spread about 2T of the mixture onto one opened hot dog bun. Put two buns per foil sheet. Carefully fold the foil up and over the buns, gently rolling up the ends to the filled buns.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until warmed through and all melted.

There is a bit debate on what size grinder tool you use. My Mom uses the small hole die for the finer grind as done my sister Niki. My sister Val uses the food processor, but for me that is too much like a puree of mushy baloney. I prefer the large hole die as it gives a coarse grind allowing for bigger bits in each bite. Up to you, doesn't change the taste, just the texture.

It is important that you end with a chunk of vegie as that cleans up any of the cheese still in the tube. Makes our washing up later that much easier.

There it all is. I opted for ketchup as I didn't have tomato paste. Tomato paste is the preferred option, but heck I was lazy and did this trailer park substitution. Whatever works, eh!?
Don't over fill the buns. Much more than the 2T allotted you have most of it oozing out the bun all over the packet and just have a mess that takes the enjoyment of savoring each bite.
All toasty warm and ready to enjoy. Avoid the temptation to put more than 2 buns per packet. More than 2 gets you cold centers or overly crispy ends. Foil is cheap just do it 2 per packet for maximum enjoyment.

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