Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2010 Challenge: Plebe Food

In my building there is a little lady who taunts me on days I forget to bring or to eat lunch. She has a convenience stall that sells among other things, Chili Cheese Fritos ("CCF"). CCF might as well be my culinary kryptonite. If I was ever interrogated and the torturer had a bag of CCF and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, forget it, I am confessing.

What is it about plebe food? We all have one or two foods we are secretly ashamed to admit we love. Lindsay has been known to be a huge fan of Corn Nuts, which are disgusting. What is your plebe food? Mine are definitely CCF. Reese's don't count as those kick ass. Last Thursday, CCF called my name loud and clear at about 2 p.m. That evening, the greatest compressed corn food of sorts, became a bowl of Red Chili. But I had to find a way to class it up, just a bit.

Frito Inspired Red Chili Recipe

This is so simple, a recipe would complicate it. This is a basic template for chili making. Feel free to add whatever the hell you want, but not corn nuts. Those are nasty.

For meat, I usually use a combination of ground beef and "stewing meat". Sear this in a heavy pot coated with a sheen of oil and season meat with salt and pepper. When browned, remove from pot. Into pot, add one onion chopped, one diced jalapeno and some garlic. Cook on medium heat, just until things are smelling great. Then add a tablespoon of chili powder or so and let the fragrance bloom. Then add a healthy tablespoon of tomato paste and stir. Deglaze pan with a bottle of beer. Then add a can of tomatoes (28 0z) and their juices, crushing the tomatoes with the back of spoon. Add the meat back. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Taste, adjust seasoning. Cook uncovered for about an hour and half or until liquid has reduced by half and the meat is tender.

To serve in the bottom of a bowl place Fritos (Scoops, trust me). Then ladle in some chili, top with  grated white cheddar. Serve with Champagne. Life is all about balance, the simple and the elegant, the Fritos and the Champagne. There is good eating and drinking found in the plebe world.


Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

You have become just about my fav food blog. 'Course love the NOLA EATS womens and well, its kind of a stupid contest in Nola anyways so forget I said anything. But really...

Two questions (and please bare with my plebishness:)
1) Always salt/pepper meat Before browning?
1a) Always remove meat once browned like when making spaghetti sauce too?
2) De-glaze AFTER adding tomato paste?
2a) De-glazing generally, at what point in process?

I know that's actually three questions if you add the two 'a's, but I failed all those tests in elementary school. You know, the ones where they tried to take away my apples, and then especially the ones with those little drawings of animals copulating with priests...yeah right ink blots my ass.

Anyway, your Word Thingy Formentor for this comment is "filtio".
Don't know what that could mean but it sounds like some nasty fun.

Got youz hanging on today's Ladder.

Rene said...

1) Yes.
2) Yes
3) Yes. I like to "brown" my tomato paste as it removes the acidity, plus those sticky sugars help the finished sauce.
4) De-glaze after you have a nice fond built up on the bottom of the pot.

jshushan said...

Pleb food I try once or twice a year. I get out my fryer and buy some frozen corn dogs. Fried with yellow mustard. Trash food I know but occasionally??

Also, just as every gas station west of Baton Rouge has Boudin, every gas station in Texas has a "Frito Pie" station to make it to go in the big grab Fritos bag. Gross, but occasionally??


Celeste said...

Try the Amy's black bean chili (canned) next time...surprisingly good for CCF...and isn't it better with fluorescent liquid nacho cheese sauce?

jshushan said...

A blog entry right on point for this topic. Enjoy.



Jody said...

My guilty pleasure would have to be gas station crawfish pies. I work waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere Louisiana most of the week and it's usually that, Crispy Crunchy Chicken, or some dashboard warmed red beans.

Cindy said...

When I was a kid in New Orleans East, my mom would make what I eventually referred to as "Johnson Tacos." It was Fritos, then Krafts Crackerbarrel cheddar cheese, then Austex chili, then red beans then finely grated cabbage. I still make it once in a while.......

Rene said...


I rock the fried goodies from Ideal Market on corner of Orleans and Bayou St. John about once a month. They are particularly good when hungover: two meat pies, a chicken tender, and a Mexican coke at 9 am is just the cure.


That sounds amazing.

Ted Hall said...

That is the most beautiful picture I have ever seen.