Who wouldn’t want to lay claim to this concession-stand creation?
New Mexico and Texas both lay claim to inventing Frito pie, which isn’t really a pie at all. Naturally, our allegiance is to Texas, where Frito pie owes its popularity to high school and sports concession stands, assembled by splitting open a bag of Fritos and ladling chili over it topped with cheese, onions and pickled jalapeños. For authenticity, Frito pie must be eaten from the bag.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound ground beef
11⁄2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 tablespoon dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 (28-ounce can) crushed tomatoes
1 (4-ounce) can green chilis
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (Unless, of course, you’re in the no-beans-in-chili camp.)
Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened.
Add ground meat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring until no longer pink. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, green chilis and beans, if you’re using them.
Cook until meat is tender and flavors have melded. About 1 hour.
Serve in 6 (1-ounce) bags of Fritos Corn Chips.
Top with pickled jalapeños, shredded cheese (cheddar or jalapeño jack), chopped raw onion (white is traditional), guacamole and sour cream (optional).
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.