Sometimes I like to have what is usually considered “trash” food during the holidays. I love Frito Chili Pie and when I saw this recipe in A Meatloaf in Every Oven I knew it was a perfect candidate.
1 teaspoon oil plus additional for the pan
1 small onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
2 cups crushed Fritos (crush with hands into 1/4” to 1/2” pieces)
1 14-ounce can Kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes. & Green Chilies, drained
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 heaping Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a loaf pan.
Sauté the onion until fragrant over low heat (about 8 minutes) then add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
With your clean hands, mix the remaining ingredients except the cheese in a large bowl. Add the onion and garlic and mix well.
Place the meat mixture in a loaf pan and top with the cheese slices.
Cook for about 50 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155 F. Remove the oven and let rest about 10 minutes before slicing.
The meatloaf definitely had the flavor profile of Frito Chili Pie, but was not very pleasing to the eye. Putting the cheese on at the beginning of the baking time is definitely not a good choice. The cheese got dry and crunchy and was not very satisfying.
I usually cook meatloaf by shaping it into a loaf and then cooking it on a sheet pan to prevent the buildup of fat. The Fritos definately soaked up all of the excess juice and fat. The Fritos and Kidney beans gave the meatloaf a dry or pasty texture.
A little chili or other sauce would help the mouth feel.
I wondered if using Chili-Cheese flavored Fritos in lieu of the cumin and chili powder and cooking the meatloaf using a sheet pan would help with the texture. That’s an experiment for another day.
For the leftovers, I served the meatloaf topped with chili (no beans) and then melted some grated cheddar over the top.
This enhanced the flavor and mouth feel and brought the dish to a new level.