East coast chefs seem to be having a love affair with all things Southern at the moment, and one dish has popped up repeatedly on the Instagram feeds of some notable Boston culinary tastemakers: Frito Pie.
Kind of like the "white trash sundae" of appetizers, Frito Pie is a beloved Southwestern tradition dating back to the founding of the Frito-Lay company in 1932 — some say the dish may even have been dreamed up by Fritos first lady, Mrs. Elmer Doolin, herself — that combines corn chips, chili, cheese (or queso), sour cream, and onions with all the down-home decadence appropriate for a playoff party.
With the Patriots set to face off against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, it's high time we reach across the 50-yard line to see how the other half celebrates game day and embrace this crowd-pleasing Southwestern snack. Whether you pile high a platter or set up a buffet, here's everything you need to make Frito Pie or "walking tacos" at home.
- 2 large or 12 snack size bags of Fritos
- Your favorite chili (homemade or canned)
- Chopped white onions
- Shredded cheddar cheese or queso
- Fresh scallions, minced
- Iceberg lettuce, chopped
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Guacamole or chopped fresh avocados
- Sliced jalapeno peppers
To create an authentic platter of Frito pie, cut open the large bag of Fritos corn chips and lay, foil side facing up, on top of your large plate or platter, the corn chips creating the base of this nachos alternative (shown above). Then top with chili, cheddar cheese or queso, chopped onions, guacamole or fresh avocados, sour cream, and minced scallions. Serve immediately. The corn chips will get a bit soggy after 10 minutes or so, though that really doesn't detract from their deliciousness!
Photo: Picky Palate
For a larger party, try the pick-up-and-go version of Frito pie served right in individual size bags of Fritos, also known as a "walking taco." First, fill a basket with individual bags of Fritos, cutting the tops off each bag and standing on end. Set out your chili in a large bowl or crock pot, along with individual bowls of toppings: cheese/queso, onions, scallions, jalapenos, avocadoes/guacamole, sour cream, lettuce. Let your guests serve themselves, doctoring up walking tacos to their individual tastes. This buffet style approach has become so popular that many Southern couples are even serving Frito pie at their wedding receptions!
Photo: Eclectic Images/Clink Events
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Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out
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