College Football Season is a mere one day away. Tomorrow there will be live football back on the air. Since we have a Duck in the family now, I’ll probably be watching the Oregon game tomorrow. And Utah is playing tomorrow, too. Since they’re still pitching a fit about the BCS results, I’ll have to watch them as well. Utah had a good team last year, and I’d still think the BCS system was a piece of junk even if it magically started helping us instead of hurting us all the time. My Longhorns play Saturday night. I couldn’t be more excited.
Anyhow, with fall arriving, school starting, and college football heating up, I just had to have frito pie. It’s a kind of bizarre choice for dinner when the highs are still in the 90’s, but this is September. I’ve never made chili before – I used to make this with my taco meat  instead. But chili seems pretty standard, ground meat, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices, etc, so I decided to give it a go. I was also inspired by the turkey chili I had in Deer Valley this summer, which to my dismay I liked. Even though I eat all sorts of foods now, sometimes the four year old in my head automatically assumes I won’t like something. I’m much more adventurous with my own food, since well, I know there aren’t any frightening mystery ingredients which are going to creep me out. Anyway, this turned out very well! And seasoned – but not at all spicy. The preschoolers were eating with us! You could make this your own level of heat by adding, jalapenos or other hot peppers and spices.
I don’t remember Frito Pie from my childhood, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I first remember it my freshman year of college in my Hardin House dorm. I originally thought the idea was bizzare, but it’s kind of addictive. And it just feels like fall.
Frito Pie with Homemade Chili
2 tbsp olive oil
2.5 lbs ground turkey
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic
5 tomatoes on the vine, chopped
1 and 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsps chili powder
12 turns fresh ground pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 c. chicken stock
2 c. shredded cheddar jack cheese
3/4 bag fritos
1 small yellow onion diced
Heat a heavy bottomed stock pot on medium heat. Add olive oil and saute onion and bell pepper 8 minutes. Add ground turkey, increase heat to high and brown thoroughly. Add garlic, cook another minute. Add tomatoes, spices and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
In a large casserole, layer the bottom with fritos. Sprinkle fritos with half of cheese and onion, then top with chili. Sprinkle with remaining onion and cheese, then bake at 350 for 25 minutes until bubbly.