- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chile powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes
- 1 large bag corn chips, preferably Fritos brand
- 1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
- 6 potato rolls
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
- pickled red onion, to taste
The sloppy Joe sandwich and Frito chili pie are two icons of American comfort food. Combining them brings out the rich, saucy meatiness of the former and the crunchy, cheesy gooeyness of the latter. Add the creaminess of sliced fresh avocado and the sharp, tangy bite of pickled red onion and you've created the ultimate flavor bomb.
I first encountered the delicacy known as Frito chili pie while working with the Texas State Fair. It is essentially a much thicker sloppy Joe with Southwestern seasonings, a backbone of velvety cheese and a layer of everyone's favorite corn chip in a somewhat soggy, somewhat crunchy, entirely salty incarnation. To balance the richness of the Frito chili pie itself, as well as the butteriness of the avocado I love to add to any Southwestern dish I serve, I've thrown in a classic Mexican taqueria condiment: pickled red onions. I highly recommend making a large batch of these, because not only will they keep for several weeks, but they also make an unusually great additional to any meal.
Technique tip: Add onion and a pinch of salt before adding the meat. Add meat when onions begin to get translucent — and keep heat on medium to medium low. You can make the chili ahead of time and then assemble and bake the casserole right before serving.
Swap options: Ground turkey, ground chicken and even ground chorizo can substitute for beef in this dish.
In a large pot set over high heat, heat the oil. Add the ground beef and onion and sauté until the meat is browned, 4 to 5 minutes.2.
Add the garlic, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon.3.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.4.
Spread the corn chips evenly on the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Pour the chili over the chips, top with the shredded cheese, and bake until the cheese is fully melted, 4 to 6 minutes.5.
To serve, scoop the Frito chili onto potato rolls and serve the sandwiches topped with sliced avocado and pickled red onion.
From "Straight Up Tasty: Meals, Memories and Mouthfuls from My Travels" by Adam Richman. Published by Clarkson Potter © 2015.