Frito Chili Joel

Any good Mid-Western or Southern American has tried Frito Chili Pie at least once in their lives. Growing up in my house, it was a staple.  It’s a magical white trash casserole that’s cheesey and savoury and crunchy and full of fat and salt and high fructose corn syrup and unicorn toots and fairy dust. It’s incredibly simple, and if done correctly, will make your heart hurt (from greatness).

What is it?
– layer of Frito corn chips
– layer of canned chili (or home made if u fancy)
– layer of shredded cheese
– bake until cheese is melted (or skip baking and use nacho cheese if u really nasty)
– toppings: sour cream, jalapeños, salsa, bacon, double cheeseburger, anything your heart desires.

Sonic, the 50’s era drive through dine in joint, is the only fast food place (off the top of my head) that serves them. Most carnivals and county fairs and sheep and wool festivals and horse shows serve them traditionally, in a single serve Frito corn chip bag:

(pic from The one, The only: The Pioneer Woman)

I can’t find Frito chips here in Sydney, so naturally I’ve been craving Friot Chili Pie like a fiend. So my parents, the sweet angels they are, sent us a GIANT care package after my surgery, which included Fritos, canned green chiles, AND canned chili. Sheeew. It was really difficult to not make it the moment I unpacked it all. But, showing remarkable self-restraint, we waited an entire 2 days before getting down on this deliciousness.

I was still in can’t-bend post-surgery mode, so Joel took the reins. And I took to the camera to document this Australian’s first Frito Chili Pie.

Your Tool Kit
First up, warm the chili over medium heat
“Um, are we meant to eat this? Are we animals? I think it’s off.” #America
There’s no such thing as No Bean Chili, so we modified it: Red beans
annnd Black Beans
Stirring and googling “why does my chili look like dog food?” Because it basically is.
Next, grate the chez
mmm, chez. I recommend cheddar, but I imagine jalapeno jack would be good, too.
“Why does all American canned food look like diarrhoea?” That’s the price of freedom.
Then, add a layer of Frito’s to an oven safe pan
… whilst trying not to eat all the Frito’s after you’ve tasted their salty corn chip goodness for the very first time #magicmoment
Next, a layer of dog food chili. Don’t look at that totally safe open flame. 
Then, the chez
Bake in the oven at 200*C/350*F until the cheese is bubbly
Served with a side of spy BBQ Fritos, for good measure
I’m a purist, so stir all the cheese and chili together and then top it with sour cream. But go hog wild with your spicy things.
Finally, sit on the couch in your sweat pants and enjoy. Finish every bite and try to sit with every bite of your questionable life choices.

Joel’s reaction: “We… we can never eat this again” he said as he stared down at his bowl, which was licked clean in less than 5 minutes. Which is basically my thought every time I eat it — followed quickly by, when can I make this again?

Verdit: +10 – even with dogfood chili.

Omg, what a childhood treat. I mean, this fully explains why Americans are obese, but hey. It’s damn delicious. And the occasional bowl of delicious poison won’t hurt you. Unless you have a blocked coronary. Or are allergic to cheese – in which case why is life even worth living?*

My next mission: track down Fritos somewhere in Sydney, and make this with my own homemade chili. Maybe I can try to make my own Fritos by cutting up corn tortilla strips and frying them? Ohhh the possibilities.

Make it. Love it. Enjoy!


*It’s true – The other night I was having dinner at my vegan friend’s house. Her boyfriend made vegan bolognese with vegan mince (or, hamburger for you Americans), and it tasted surprisingly like meat. However, the “cheese” offering was called “nutritional yeast flakes” and was horribly named and only vaguely reminiscent to parmesan cheese. All I can say is vegan mince: passable. Nutritional Yeast Flakes: not even close.

2 thoughts on “Frito Chili Joel

  1. True story – while stationed in Saudi, dad went to the commissary and complained about the lack of bacon. They had some shipped in for him.

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