Classic Beef Chili & Frito Pie

November is prime camping weather. Just before we start barrelling into the holidays, Jason and I always try to go camping, and this year, we were able to go with two of my favorite people.  Jason's brother, Kevin, and his girlfriend, Erica. 

Both of these kids stay pretty busy at school.  Kevin is studying engineering at VMI and Erica is studying occupational therapy at Virginia Tech. All that to say, we don't get to see them that much, so getting to hang out with them was phenomenal.  

And, we had chili.  Chili is my favorite camping meal.  Make it ahead in the crock pot and freeze it.  Then, the let it thaw in the cooler on the way to the mountains and all you have to do is heat it up for dinner on your camp stove. BAM! But it wasn't just delicious, American beef and bean chili.  Sometimes the presentation changes everything. Enter the fritos. 

Chili needs a filler if it's going to be a one pot meal. Rice, corn bread, or in this case, fritos. They give a nice crunch to the chili and stretch it into a meal that easily fills up two hungry men. 

Throw a few fritos in a bowl, drown them in hearty chili, and top everything off with shredded cheese and sour cream.  Then, head to the camp fire. 

Classic Beef Chili & Frito Pie


Classic Beef Chili 
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 (16 oz.) cans chilli beans
2 (15 oz.) cans mild Rotel Tomatoes
1 diced chipotle pepper, plus two tablespoons adobe sauce
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf

1 bag Fritos
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheese


1. Brown beef, onion, and garlic in a large saucepan until thoroughly cooked. 

2. Place beef in crock pot.  Add beans, tomatoes, chipotle pepper, pumpkin, coffee, sugar, and spices.  Stir everything until well blended.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

3. To serve, place fritos in a bowl, add chili, and top with a little cheese and sour cream.  Freezes well.