Tex-Mex Frito Slab Pie

Serves 24.

Note: The crust is made with a box of Jiffy Corn Bread mix, but feel free to use the recipe (below left) for Plainly Deliciously Corn Bread or your favorite cornbread recipe instead. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet or jellyroll pan that measures 13 by 18 inches. The recipe can be halved; in that case, you’ll need a 9- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet. While this is a very kid-friendly pie, the adobo can carry serious heat, so be confident but judicious about how much you use, depending on the crowd. If it’s a group that likes spicy, include not just the tangy sauce, but a canned chipotle, minced. This recipe can be baked earlier in the day, refrigerated and then reheated to serve. Starting with a room-temperature pie, cover with aluminum foil and warm in a 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. The chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance, or frozen for up to a month. Defrost before using. From Cathy Barrow.

For the chili

• 1/2 c. chopped smoky bacon or pancetta

• 2 medium onions, diced

• 1 lb. lean ground pork

• 1 lb. lean ground beef, preferably ground chuck

• 1 c. water

• 4 tbsp. tomato paste

• 1 1/2 tbsp. sauce from canned chiles in adobo (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. ancho chili powder

• 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)

• 1 tsp. ground cumin

• 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

• 1/2 c. chopped green onions (white and light-green parts)

• 1/4 c. packed cilantro leaves, chopped

For the crust

• Softened unsalted butter, for the pan

• 2 (8.5-oz.) boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (see Note)

• 2 eggs

• 2/3 c. regular or low-fat milk

• 2 c. (8 oz.) Monterey Jack or sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

• 1 (9.5-oz.) bag regular Fritos, crushed

For serving

• Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

• Sour cream or Mexican crema

• Jalapeño slices, fresh or pickled

• Hot sauce


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the chili: Cook the chopped bacon in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat until it is just crisp. Add the onions and cook until translucent, then add the ground pork and beef, breaking it up with 2 forks. Cook until no pink remains in the meat, about 6 minutes, then pour off and discard most of the accumulated fat.

Add 1 cup water, tomato paste, adobo sauce, ancho chili powder, salt, paprika, cumin and cinnamon. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the green onions and cilantro; remove the pan from the heat. Let the mixture cool while making the cornbread batter.

For the crust: Brush the rimmed baking sheet with butter, especially in the corners and up the sides.

Prepare the corn muffin mixes with the eggs and milk according to the package directions, stirring with a fork until just combined in a mixing bowl. Lumps are OK.

Pour the batter into the baking sheet or jellyroll pan, using an offset spatula to spread it evenly into the corners. Scatter the chili filling evenly across the cornmeal batter, cover with the grated cheese and then top with the crushed Fritos. Don’t worry too much; it’s all going to come together.

Bake in the middle rack for 22 to 24 minutes, until the cornbread is pulling away from the corners and the Fritos are golden brown. If it looks like the crust will bubble over the edges, place a large sheet of aluminum foil or another baking sheet on the rack underneath.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Set out the chopped cilantro, sour cream or Mexican crema, jalapeños and hot sauce for serving.


Plainly Delicious Corn Bread

Serves 10 to 12.

Note: Use stone-ground cornmeal, which provides the heartiest corn flavor. The recipe makes a fine crust for Tex-Mex Frito Slab Pie. The cornbread develops a nice crust when you bake it in a cast-iron skillet, but you can use a 9- by 9-inch baking pan instead (without the preheating step). It’s best when served the same day it’s made. For mix-ins, consider adding frozen or canned corn kernels, thoroughly drained, crumbled crisp bacon and/or a few slices of fresh or pickled jalapeño. From Cathy Barrow.

• 1 1/2 c. flour

• 1 1/2 c. stone-ground cornmeal (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. baking powder

• 2 tsp. baking soda

• 2 tsp. kosher salt

• 11 tbsp. (1 stick plus 3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

• 2 c. regular or low-fat buttermilk

• 4 eggs, beaten


Place a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet on the middle oven rack; preheat to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour and cornmeal with the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together 10 tablespoons of the melted butter, the buttermilk and eggs in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, using a table fork to incorporate just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Lumps are OK.

Once the pan is quite hot, use the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter to brush the inside of the pan, including up the sides. Pour the batter into the hot pan, slide it in the oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per each of 12 servings, using low-fat buttermilk:

Calories 240 Fat 13 g Sodium 370 mg

Carbohydrates 25 g Saturated fat 8 g Total sugars 2 g

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 90 mg Dietary fiber 2 g