Recipe: Frito Chili Pie
When you grow up in Oklahoma (or perhaps anywhere in the United States), Frito Chili Pie is simply ubiquitous. It was available weekly in the school cafeteria, along with pizza and steak fingers (gag me), and my mom made it at home at least once a month. It was always a dish that brought me joy and comfort and that never failed to satisfy.
So when my husband Ed’s cousin Tom came over from England to stay with us for two weeks, I was taken aback when he didn’t know what Frito Chili Pie was. He was asking us about famous restaurants in Oklahoma, and we mentioned Eischen’s. “What do they serve?” he asked. “Fried chicken,” everyone said in unison, and I added, “I remember eating Frito Chili Pie there when I was a kid.” Tom looked quizzical. “What’s that?” he asked. I explained it to him as best as I could, but he didn’t seem to get it (same way Americans don’t understand Marmite on toast, I imagine).
If there’s anyone out there who’s never had Frito Chili Pie, I implore you to try it! This slow cooker recipe features three different types of beans, along with bell peppers, onions, corn and canned diced tomatoes. I added something a bit special to it, too—a few spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s Queso Cheese Dip. I guarantee you’d never had cheese in a jar like this before; it’s truly remarkable and tastes like a great queso you might find in a restaurant. I also highly recommend Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole as a topping. It’s made with Greek yogurt and contains less fat than the usual variety. We went for the store-bought bag of Fritos this time, but you could also make your own corn chips. Enjoy this tasty meal any time of year!
2 - 15 oz. cans dark red kidney beans
15 oz. can black beans
15 oz. can pinto beans
15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 green bell peppers, diced
11 oz. fiesta corn
Yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. vegetable broth
Trader Joe’s Queso Cheese Dip
3/4 c. salsa
1 T. cumin
1 T. cayenne
Salt & pepper to taste
Fritos or other corn chips
Guacamole, red onion, cheddar and/or chives for topping
1) Add the beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, yellow onion, corn, garlic cloves, vegetable broth, salsa, cumin and cayenne to a slow cooker. Add 3-4 spoonfuls of the queso cheese dip. Season with salt and pepper and stir well.
2) Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. If you’d like the chili a bit thicker, add a spoonfuls of cornstarch when it’s done cooking (be sure to mix the cornstarch in a separate bowl with a bit of water so it doesn’t become chunky in the chili).
3) Serve and top with Fritos, red onions, cheddar, chives and guacamole, if desired.