doojie
With a name like the Doojie and a composition of ground beef and spicy, tangy ‘nduja sausage, how can you possibly lose?

Chicago chef Chris Gawronski is no stranger to ‘nduja, that delicious fermented spreadable sausage that’s spicing up everything from salad dressings to burgers around the country. Melted, smeared, fried, layered or smudged, there are no two ways about it: This once-obscure ingredient is a hot topic. At his restaurants, Acanto and the Gage, Gawronski serves traditional favorites but adds his own touches to every dish.

Chef Gawronski mashes it in with the yolk filling for deviled eggs and renders it into a vinaigrette for pan-seared prawns. He also smears a thick layer atop his new specialty burger, “the Doojie” — along with tomato jam, smoked mozzarella and bagna cauda aioli — and serves house-made ‘nduja chips on the side.

“We have been making ‘nduja in house since the restaurant opened, and love its versatility. One week we made too large a batch and were sitting on quite a lot of sausage,” says the chef. “Oddly enough, my chef de cuisine was assigned with making family meal on a Sunday after an exceptionally busy Saturday. Needless to say, we had nothing left in the coolers but the ‘nduja and some ground beef for bolognese that we didn’t need. He took those two ingredients, some onions and some eggs, and proceeded to make the best damn meatloaf I have ever had. We had just been assigned to the Hamburger Hop for Chicago Gourmet earlier that week. One bite of that meatloaf and it was settled: We were going to turn this into a burger.”