Texans and New Mexicans have locked horns for decades over who can lay claim to the irresistible creation that is Frito pie. Making it is a simple matter of topping a pile of Fritos corn chips with chili, cheddar, onions, and sliced jalapeños. It’s often served right inside the Fritos bag, but it’s equally appealing in an old-fashioned paper boat, garnished with cilantro and scallions. This recipe for Southwestern chili-topped corn chips comes from Mabel’s Smokehouse, an Oklahoma-style barbecue restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. This recipe first appeared in the SAVEUR 100, with the article Frito Pie.
FOR THE CHILI
- 2 1⁄2 lb. ground beef
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1⁄4 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups cups whole peeled canned tomatoes in juice, pureed
FOR THE FRITO PIE
- 1 (10.5-oz.) bag Fritos-brand corn chips
- Shredded white and orange cheddar cheeses, sour cream, sliced jalapeños, minced red onion, sliced scallions, and cilantro leaves, to garnish
- Make the chili: Working in batches, add beef to a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 10 minutes. Drain beef in a colander, and return pan to heat with oil. Add onion, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, season with salt, and cook until garlic is soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaves; stir until smooth and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add reserved beef, tomatoes, and 1 1⁄2 cups water, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes.
- Divide chips among 6 serving bowls and top with some of the chili; garnish with cheeses, sour cream, jalapeños, red onion, scallions, and cilantro, if you like.