At Beer & Pig, we typically avoid bland things. I’m sure that I have never had anything labeled as “Gluten Free.” I believe that removing gluten from anything is the equivalent of removing alcohol from Scotch, or removing “And the Rockets’ Red Glare” from the Star Spangled Banner. I have never been to a Vegan Restaurant, nor spoken to a Vegan long enough to have reached a third sentence (the second sentence was always “Goodbye”). I have faith that the main result from eliminating gluten from a planned meal or snack, or eating anything so stripped of quality that it can be labeled “Vegan”, is to stab at the heart of America. Fortunately, B&P stands as a shield to these encroachments.
With those thoughts in mind, I received a recommendation from the editorial staff at B&P to try the Frito Pie with 1 Hour Texas Chili, by Steamy Kitchen. Steamy Kitchen is a site run by Jaden Hair, a well-respected chef and food columnist, who has previously appeared on the Today Show, TLC, and many other media outlets. More recently, you could see her as a chef star on ABC’s Recipe Rehab. Her recipes have achieved the reputation of being easy to prepare, extremely delicious, and always made from fresh ingredients.
She describes the Frito Pie as a “Texas delicacy, popular at county fairs, and considered good tail-gaitin’ eats.” If organized correctly, it only takes about 10 minutes of preparation time, then 60-90 minutes of cooking.
In observing the ingredients, one notices the incredible variety of chilies (ancho, chipotle, pequin) pooled with nearly a dozen spoonful’s of only the most hearty spices, two pounds of ground beef, cheese, bacon grease, and many other additions that we fans of B&P always enjoy. A cursory review of these ingredients tells you that if you just cook it correctly, you will likely encounter the food world’s equivalent of a nuclear missile: an exceedingly spicy, meet-filled, oregano flavored combination on top of Fritos. How could this possibly go wrong?
The answer is that this can go wrong if you decide to go rogue and cut corners on how you cook these ingredients together. This recipe is meant to be cooked one way. That way involves mixing the chilies in a blender along with some of the delicious spices. It is a bad idea to simply crush the chilies, as I tried to do, and then mix them into cooked beef. Once I made this mistake, no matter how long I cooked the combination of beef, chilies and spices, I couldn’t make it work.
Fortunately, I purchased enough of the ingredients that I could afford to have a do-over. This time, I pureed the chilies as instructed by Ms. Hair, and the result was magnificent. If you are a fan of B&P, and regularly enjoy its recommendations, there is no doubt that you will appreciate the Frito Pie with 1 Hour Texas Chili . When combined with the Fritos as instructed, this mixture of beef, chilies, spices, and cheese produces an overwhelming, fiery, fresh, and honest Texas-American taste that can serve as the centerpiece for any meal, or any snack, any time.
By itself, the recommended portion can serve about 7 ordinary people (4-5 if you have people that eat like they mean it). Add your favorite beverage…in my case a cold Fat Tire…and you have the perfect meal planned.