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
• 1 12-ounce bottle of Lone Star or Corona beer
• 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.