Texas Bowl of Red (Chili) and The Walking Taco
Whenever I think of Super Bowl Sunday, I think of Chili and Guacamole and chips, and Ro-Tel Cheese Dip.
People love to indulge in finger foods that they can eat while milling about or standing and watching the game in suspense. If you make a dish that combines everyone’s favorite football snacks, you’ve got a winning day regardless of who wins the game.
That dish is the Frito Pie. I didn’t grow up with Frito Pie, per se. In my neck of the woods, it was the 7-layer dip that essentially had all the same ingredients but the fritos were kept crispy because they were the dipping chip instead of the base of the dish. A few months ago, I flew down south and when I arrived, I met an x-pat chef from Queens who was essentially serving Frito Pie but calling it “The Walking Taco”. I loved the name and immediately thought that it would be a great party food with a few alterations.
• Number-one, Create a make-Your-Own-Walking Taco Bar, so everyone can customize their own treat—this will add theatre to the dish and most importantly prevent the dreaded sogginess. Note: This is one dish that has to be eaten within seconds of being assembled.
• Number-two, expand the possibilities. You can add all of your favorite taco topping to the bar, but you have to stock the bar with heavy-duty individual bags of Fritos, because the Frito bag will become your bowl. I suggest the medium size snack bag which will give you ample room to add your topping once the bag is open.
This Make-your-own-bar is dramatic, will be the talk of the town and is easy on the cook. I like adding pulled chicken to the mix and you can buy a rotisserie chicken or make your own beer-can chicken and pull it once it is cool. I think that great homemade chili and guacamole are key so I am including those recipes here, but otherwise, make sure you buy the best quality toppings and set them out with plenty of spoons for folks to add with abandon. And, I suggest eating this concoction out of the bag with a fork, not your fingers!
Homemade Chili without Beans*
Grated Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
Grated jalapeno-jack cheese
Grated yellow cheddar
Sliced Green Onions
Chopped white onions
Texas Bowl of Red (Chili)
In Texas, Chili has no beans in it and this makes a perfect Chili for The Walking Taco. Have beans on the side for those who want to add beans. This chili is also great all winter long with a side of cornbread.
• 1 pound ground sirloin
• 1 pound ground chuck
• 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
• 2 10 oz. cans Rotel tomatoes with Chiles
• 6 ounces tomato paste
• 1 Tablespoon freshly ground cumin
• 1 Tablespoon freshly ground oregano leaves
• 1 Tablespoon dehydrated garlic
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt or more to taste
• 1 Tablespoon Ancho Chile powder
• 1 Tablespoon New Mexican Chili Powder
• 1 teaspoon Chipolte Chile Powder
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional if you want the extra “kick!”
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, brown meat and onions for about 15 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add beer, Rotel tomatoes and tomato paste and stir. Stir and simmer for a few minutes, than add spices. Stir thoroughly. Cover pot and cook on a low heat for 2 hours. Stir occasionally to break up the pieces of tomato and make sure all the spices are well incorporated.
If chili is too thick, additional water or beer may be added, but add slowly and cautiously or it will get too thin. This can be made up to 2 days in advance and re-heated gently on the day of the party. Note: Chili is very thick right out of the refrigerator and thins as you heat it.