Frito Chili Pie with Pico de Gallo

I’ll just say right up front that this recipe IS a little labor intensive, but WOW, it is delish!! However, please don’t fret – I’m including easy substitutions (still delicious) to allow for those times when you’ve just gotta get a meal on the table. In a household of 4 men, I know ALL about that – please read on. 

**Special thanks to the farmers and ranchers of Kansas Farm Bureau who made this January 2015 segment of Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen on WIBW 13 News This Morning with Chris Fisher possible.

Beef Chili

2-3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano flakes
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 lbs. lean ground beef (or substitute venison)
1 cup red chili sauce (see recipe below) or substitute 1 cup red enchilada sauce
3 toma tomatoes, chopped
1 can chili beans, undrained
3-4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste


16 oz. bag corn chips
Pico de Gallo (see recipe below)
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream, for garnish

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat; add onion, garlic, oregano and cumin and cook until onion is softened. Add ground beef and cook until it begins to brown, stirring as needed.  Add the red chile sauce (or enchilada sauce, if substituting) tomatoes and chili beans, stirring to combine.  Lower heat to medium low and add chicken stock; simmer, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Red Chile Sauce

(if you don’t want to make your own red chile sauce, simply substitute red enchilada sauce from your grocer)
1/2 lb. dried ancho chile peppers
6 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 Tbs. ground cumin
1/4 cup honey
2 cans Hunts tomato sauce with roasted garlic, 8 oz. each
1-2 tsp. chipotle sauce

Rinse the peppers to remove any dirt, slit each pepper with a sharp knife, then remove and discard the seeds and stem.  (If you have very sensitve skin, you may want to wear gloves during this process.)

Place the prepared peppers into a large pot and cover with water by 2 inches; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, the peppers should have softened and will have absorbed some of the liquid.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside – do not drain.

Meanwhile, combine the wine, onion, garlic, brown sugar, cumin, honey, tomato sauce and chipotle sauce in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer and simmer ingredients for 10-12 minutes, or until onions have softened.  Remove from heat and set mixture aside.

Using a colander, drain peppers, reserving the cooking liquid.  Place cooled peppers into the bowl of a food processor along with approx. 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid and all of the onion mixture.  (You may need to work in batches, combining all in a large bowl after each batch is processed.)

Cover the food processor bowl and and process mixture until smooth.  The result should be a thick, dark, red chile puree.  Adjust seasonings and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Store sauce in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for for up to one year.

Pico de Gallo

6 jalapenos, seeds and membranes removed, diced
1 red onion, diced
6 scallions, thinly sliced
5 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
zest and juice of 2 limes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper; let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Now You’re Cookin’,
Chef Alli


Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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