Frito pie, friday nights and football food (recipe)

A recipe for a traditional Louisiana game day food, Frito pie is perfectly portable when served in a chip bag. Photo: Amelia Ames

PROVO, Utah, September 9, 2013 – On Friday nights, football stadium lights shine, signaling the start of a well beloved and time honored tradition. Football in the south ranks right up there with religion.

Luckily, most high school and college games don’t fall on a Sunday, so the ethical paradox of determining which god to serve can be avoided.

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Small town football in the south is king, and at times is the glue that holds communities together. Boosters are dedicated to their kids and devote hours of time and wads of money doing everything from taking tickets at the gate to running concession stands.

Frito pie is a traditional football concession stand food in Louisiana, and though humble in appearance, is mighty fine eating especially when cheering your boys on to victory on a cool fall night.

Frito Pie


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1 lb ground beef round or 80/20 ground beef

salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

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2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

½ cup chopped green pepper

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

¾ teaspoon dried oregano


1 ½ cups shredded medium cheddar cheese


Season beef with salt and pepper. In a large pot, brown beef in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and peppers. Cook until onions are translucent.

Push the beef mixture to edges of pan, clearing an opening in the center of the pan. Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, and cocoa powder into the opening and toast for 1 minute until fragrant, stirring without incorporating beef mixture. The spices may stick a bit to the pan, and this is ok. Once toasted, stir the spices into beef mixture.

Stir tomatoes, beans, and oregano into the beef mixture. Add a small amount of water if it looks dry. Bring to a boil, and turn the heat down to low. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes.

In 6 individual bowls, layer Fritos, then chili, and top with cheese. For tailgaiting portability, pour chili directly over chips in single serving size bags.

Yield: 6 servings

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Amelia Ames

Amelia Ames is a food writer and reviewer for Communities @Washington Times.  Her column Kitchen Journeys seeks to find the best in food, and those that prepare it for us.  Read more of her recipes, reviews and news at Gastronomy Girl. She received a B.S. in Zoology-Entomology from Brigham Young University.

Contact Amelia Ames


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