This is not just a Frito pie -- it's Knoxville's gourmet version and you have got to try it!
I am unbelievably excited to share this recipe because it is native to my hometown: KNOXVILLE!! :) In 1982 at the World's Fair, a couple from Spokane, Washington decided to make a gourmet version of a popular football treat: chili and onions poured over corn chips (in the bag). Joe and Carol Schoentrup added cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, tomato, green onion, sour cream, and hot sauce to the chili, onions, and corn chips combo. The World's Fair had an energy theme that year, so the dish was dubbed a "Petro" as a nod to petroleum. The Petro's Chili and Chips "restaurant" started up in a food court in our very own West Town Mall in 1992. It's a really small chain, but I honestly didn't realize it was a Knoxville thing until I went to make this recipe.
I first visited Knoxville when I was in 4th grade - back in 1998. We came down to visit my stepdad's family for Christmas. I remember getting Petro's for the first time (and Baskin Robbins) and it being the best mall food I had ever had. I thought having chili over Fritos was GENIUS. I still think so. I haven't had a legit Petro in years upon years, even though I have lived in Knoxville around 11 years (minus the 6 or so years I missed due to military life). I knew it'd be like pulling an arm and a leg to get Nick to choose Petro's over anything else if we ate fast food, so when I was craving it, I decided homemade was the way to go.
My green onions spoiled by the time I made it, so I was unfortunately without, but they would have been there because they are so good on it. You can also do black olives, salsa, and jalapenos, if you want.
What you need:
For the chili:
- 2 lb. ground beef
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 3 Tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp. dried Oregano
- 2 cans Rotel (mild or hot - or a combo)
- 2 cans (14.5 oz each) petite diced tomatoes
- 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
- 3 cans mild chili beans
- Shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
- Diced tomatoes
- Diced green onions
- Sour cream
- Black olives
- Jalapeno slices
- In a large stockpot, brown ground beef and crumble as it cooks. Drain, if needed.
- Add onions and cook until soft.
- Add the remaining chili ingredients except the beans and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer on low, covered, for about an hour.
- Stir in beans and then simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.
- Serve over the top of Fritos with any or all of the toppings.
Recipe from Our Family Table
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