Turkey Frito Casserole
This Frito casserole came from a scene early after Amy's disappearance when a local MILF cozies up to Nick and gives him a Frito casserole to help ease the pain of his wife's disappearance. It just stuck in my head since I totally love Frito's, so I was intrigued. Turns out Frito pie is very popular in some parts of the country and is basically a beef chili with Frito and cheese, often served in a Frito bag. That is sinful. I tried to make this Frito casserole less sinful, using ground turkey and a lot of fresh peppers and cilantro, combined with regular chili ingredients like tomatoes and pinto beans. I gotta say, this was totally yummy and I will definitely be making it again. If the thought of Frito's horrifies you, you could easily substitute some seemingly healthy tortilla chip that they will sell you at Whole Foods, but I would recommend the Frito's - nothing will taste as good as real Frito's.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lbs ground turkey (I used a mix of white and dark meat)
4 fresh hatch chilli peppers, chopped (or substitute 4 bell peppers of your choice)
1 small can of hatch chili peppers
1 jalapeno pepper, minced, with or without seeds depending on how spicy you like it
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1 14 ounce can of pinto beans
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1-3 cups of Frito's depending on your taste
1 cup of shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese
- In a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 6 minutes or so.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the fresh peppers and jalapeno and cook until they are wilted, 5 minutes more.
- Push the vegetables to the edges of the pan and add the turkey in the middle.
- Cook the turkey until browned on all sides.
- Add the canned chilies and the spices and stir until the spices are well incorporated.
- Add the tomatoes and the pinto beans and lots of salt and pepper.
- Let simmer over medium heat until all the flavors meld and it comes together like chili, 30 minutes. If it appears dry, add water or chicken stock.
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Stir in most of the cilantro, reserving some for garnish.
- Pour the chili mixture into a greased casserole dish.
- Top with Frito's and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 - 10 minutes. The longer you cook it the more "crust-like" the Frito's become.
- Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and serve.