Frito Pie

By • August 10, 2011 • 26 Comments



Author Notes: Buda (pronounced BYOO-da), Texas is "famous" for a couple small-town festivals: "Red, White, and Buda," where people from around the state gather to race their wiener dogs, and "Budafest," the annual Christmas festival. At both events, Frito Pies are the stars of the concession stands. They're usually made with Fritos, Wolf brand chili, pre-shredded orange cheese product, and onions. My version classes it up a bit, with legit cheddar cheese and an honest Texas chili: no beans, no tomatoes. But it's close enough to the original to satisfy any Texas Fair-goer :) arielleclementine

Food52 Review: We loved this Texas-style (no beans, no tomato) chili. The cinnamon and cocoa powder add a nice depth of flavor. The chunks of beef are fall-apart tender, and the semolina gives some thickness to the sauce. We strained the skins out after blending the reconstituted chiles to keep the sauce smooth. The Fritos are fun! We could easily eat this out of a bag, a nice big bowl is pretty hard to beat.theediblecomplex

Serves 4

  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stem and seeds removed
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons rendered beef fat (or bacon drippings, or veg oil)
  • 1 pound beef chuck roast, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 12 oz bottle of beer (I used Shiner Bock)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon semolina
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 small bags Fritos
  • 3 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for dolloping
  1. Tear the chiles into smaller pieces and toast in a medium-sized dutch oven set over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Transfer toasted chiles to a blender, cover with 1 cup of very hot tap water, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Blend the chiles and water until smooth.
  2. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in the now empty pot for a minute or two, until fragrant, and then grind in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Add the chile powder, cocoa powder, and kosher salt and stir to combine.
  3. Add the beef fat (or bacon fat, or oil) to the dutch oven, set over medium heat. Brown the diced beef in two batches, and then remove to sit on a plate.
  4. Add the onions to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, until soft and caramelized, being sure to scrape up the beef bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the minced garlic and spice blend, and cook for 30 more seconds. Add the browned beef and any accumulated juices, the chile puree, the cinnamon stick, and the bottle of beer. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer for 3 hours.
  5. Stir in the semolina and season the chili to taste with kosher salt.
  6. To assemble the Frito Pies, cut open the front of the bags of Fritos, and top each with a few spoonfuls of chili, shredded cheddar cheese, minced onion, and a dollop of sour cream. I hope you like it!
Jump to Comments (26)

Comments (26) Questions (1)

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over 1 year ago willsmom

What does one do without access to the chilis? I can get these specific kinds of powder.

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over 1 year ago Emma Roberts

Can't wait to make this! Yum!

20130914_from_jay

about 2 years ago batbean

Haha, at Pennsylvania football games this is called a "walking taco". Still delicious!!

Mcs

over 2 years ago mcs3000

I had a horse when I was little. Frito pie was sold at the barrel-racing competitions. it was the perfect lunch because we could eat it straight from the bag, sitting on our horses.

Henrykiss

over 2 years ago arielleclementine

what a fantastic story mcs3000! love the image of eating frito pie on horseback!

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

Yay! I was hoping you would get a pretty photo!

Henrykiss

over 2 years ago arielleclementine

oh hooray! thanks, Bevi!!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

oh baby. yes! i love this recipe.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Love this, AC! Don't know how I missed it the first time around.

Birthday_2012

almost 3 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

ArielleClementine, I'm from the Midwest and now, living in the Northeast, miss declasse foods like Frito Pie. I just read about it in Andre Dubus's memoir "Townie" and just came across your recipe. Thank you so much and I love the authentic looking photograph.

Lorigoldsby

almost 3 years ago lorigoldsby

We call these "walking tacos"

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

WAY too clever! Not to mention great. Love the "cut open the front of the bags of Fritos, and top each with a few spoonfuls of chili, shredded cheddar cheese, minced onion, and a dollop of sour cream."

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

During the school year, I teach kids' cooking classes in the afternoons, and they would absolutely LOVE this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I believe we should probably skip the beer.

Checker

almost 3 years ago checker

I had one of these at a taco stand just inside the U.S. border at Tijuana, and I have wondered about them ever since. Thanks for the info!

Henrykiss

almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

Haha! Awesome! I'm happy to spread the word about frito pies!

Lobster_001

almost 3 years ago nannydeb

Takes me back to elementary school! I think they just didn't want to do dishes, therefore it was served in the bag.

Henrykiss

almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

Aren't Texas school lunches the best? My favorite was a deep fried burrito! I don't think I ate any vegetables in any of my K-12 school lunches :/

Henrykiss

almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

Thanks everybody for the very nice comments!!

Summer_2010_1048

almost 3 years ago Midge

Love your version!

036

almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hurrah for Frito Chili Pie!!!! The real kind, served in the frito bag.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

yeah, Texas in da house!

163495_472867398309_651568309_5819416_3677565_n

almost 3 years ago dani

This sounds wonderful! I'm always on the look out for a great chili recipe. I'll try it soon.

Henrykiss

almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

Thanks mama :)

Ha-0010

almost 3 years ago Helenthenanny

This was so yummy, Yeti!! Best frito pie I ever ate. And I've eaten A LOT of frito pies.

3-bizcard

almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Very nice, I haven't had frito's since Iwas a child, Sounds really good.