Just recently I bought a new cookbook... "Cook's Illustrated Cookbook".
It is a huge book... 890 pages and 2,000 recipes, so I settled in to do some serious reading.
It was a cold, rainy day and I felt like comfort food without a lot of effort, and that's when I found "Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans".
And then I decided I would make Frito Pie (no pie crust required!).
For those of you who do not know what a Frito Pie is... read on.
Frito Pie (also known as a "walking taco" or "taco in a bag") is quite simply a bag of Fritos corn chips topped with chili and garnishes
to be eaten out of the bag with a plastic spoon or fork.
To read more about Fritos Corn Chips and the origin of the Frito Pie, please go to:
2 Tbsp. VEGETABLE OIL
2 ONIONS, chopped fine
1 RED BELL PEPPER, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 cloves GARLIC, minced
1/4 c. CHILI PEPPER
1 Tbsp. ground CUMIN
2 tsp. ground CORIANDER
1 tsp. RED PEPPER FLAKES
1 tsp. dried OREGANO
1/2 tsp. CAYENNE PEPPER
2 lbs. 85% lean GROUND BEEF
2 cans (15-ounce) KIDNEY BEANS, rinsed (I used both dark red and white)
1 (28-ounce) can diced TOMATOES, drained with juice reserved
1 (28-ounce) can TOMATO PUREE
Individual FRITOS CORN CHIP BAGS (each 1 1/4 ounces) or (35.4 Gm.)
Condiments: CILANTRO, CHEDDAR CHEESE, PICKLED JALAPENO SLICES, CHOPPED ONIONS, CUBED AVOCADO, SOUR CREAM, and A WEDGE OF LIME
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add half the beef. Cook breaking up pieces with a spoon until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes.
Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with spoon until no longer pink, 3-4 minutes.
Add beans, tomatoes, tomato purée and 1/2 tsp. salt; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.
Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened.
Season with salt to taste.
Slit open the side of each Fritos bag and spoon in some hot chili.
Top with some shredded cheese and then add more chili.
Serve with a plastic utensil and let everyone help themselves to the condiments.
This chili is even better the second day, so if you wish, make ahead and then just heat and serve!