Crispy corn chips. Quick and easy ground turkey green chile chili. Cheese! and any and all the toppings. Bar food/fair food/walking tacos made to sit down and eat: this green chile frito pie is a mashup of so many of my favorite things and as a bonus I suspect it’s actually kinda healthy.
Let’s get the disclaimer/confession out of the way right now- my Frito Pie contains no Fritos. I used the Bearitos corn chips instead. They are just slightly lower in sodium and saturated fat and as a mostly from scratch cook I can get easily overwhelmed by the amount of salt in commercial products. I also made my frito pie on a plate, not in the bag, and loaded it with fresh toppings.
If all things green chile and cheese appeal to you, you might also like my version of a corn bread tamale pie cooked in cast iron– perfect for a chilly (chillie, chili, chile???) evening.
Frito Pie substitutions and alternatives and suggestions
Want to make a walking taco? all you have to do is use a snack size bag of chips for each serving and eschew the plate. I would stick with a frito style chip as they are naturally cite size and stay crispy a little longer
You, of course, can use any chili you want. Red or green, saucy or not. The “chili” is less saucy than most because I wanted something lighter.
Toppings? think taco bar not pie. Cheese is almost (I say almost because it’s your damn frito pie) mandatory, as is some sort of crunch like chopped green or white onion. But the rest is up to you. I like tomato, sour cream, and avocado. Sometimes shredded lettuce or radishes. Sometimes extra green hot sauce. Sometimes even red.
Serving a crowd? Set up a frito pie bar, just like a taco bar but with corn chips instead of tortillas.
- 1 lb ground turkey breast you can substitute pork or beef but you might want to cook the meat separately and drain any excess fat
- 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
- 1 cup chopped roasted green chiles- fresh canned, or frozen
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground red chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 ounces of frito style corn chips
- 1 cup shredded cheese pepper jack or medium cheddar
- sour cream
- chopped tomato
- green or white onion chopped
- pickled jalapeño
- over medium heat preheat a lightly oiled large frying pan or cast iron skillet
- add the chopped onion and sauté over medium heat until the onion begins to sweat (about five minutes)
- add the ground turkey breast, cumin, and chili powder. Continue to cook, breaking apart the turkey as needed until mostly done
- Add the roasted green chiles (I used canned chiles, if using fresh you might want to add a splash of water or light lager style beer (1/4 cup or less)
- Check for seasoning and salt and pepper as desired (I like to use just a pinch of salt as the chips are plenty salty)
- Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer uncovered so the flavors to come together for about/at least ten minutes
- prep the toppings
- In shallow bowls or on rimmed plates divide the chips into one ounce servings (about a cup), top with a cup of the ground turkey green chili, a quarter cup of shredded cheese, a sprinkle of chopped green scallion or onion, and other topping as desired
- serve immediately
all the best of Bourdain and all the worst descriptions of Frito Pie.