FRENCH FRY CHILI PIE

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“French Fry Chili Pie” is fun to say – and it is a hearty, flavorful meal that can be prepared easily for a community dinner.

I discovered this recipe in an issue of Rachel Ray Every Day in 2006, which she describes as a healthier alternative to the well-known casserole of the 1980’s that was made with ground beef, condensed soup, and tater tots.

Rachel Ray’s version of this satisfying meal has been a family favorite for almost 10 years.  The recipe was originally designed to serve 4-6, but it has been simple to adjust the ingredient portions to create a homemade meal for a crowd on a busy week night.

If you can, make extra.  Because the leftovers are amazing re-heated and wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.

FRENCH FRY CHILI PIE

ingredients

  • 3-28 ounce packages of frozen shoestring potato fries (don’t substitute other cuts.  The thin crispiness is important to get the right crunch on this dish)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 6 pounds of ground turkey breast, divided
  • freshly ground salt & pepper (according to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons ground cumin, divided
  • 2 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Cup beer or chicken broth (to deglaze a pan)
  • 4 – 15 ounce white kidney or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2-1/2 Cups of chicken broth
  • 6 Cups/48 ounces of tomatillo (green) salsa
  • 1/2 Cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 Cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (according to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse ground salt
  • 1 Cup crumbled feta or cojitas cheese to serve as a garnish (optional)

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Arrange fries in a single layer in three separate rimmed baking sheets and bake, tossing and rotating pans halfway through, until browned, approximately 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet.  When the oil smokes, add 2 pounds of ground turkey, and break up the meat as it cooks with a wooden spoon.  Season with 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning, 1 Tablespoon of cumin, and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.
  • Once browned, drain and transfer seasoned meat to a large pot.
  • Repeat twice with remaining turkey, poultry seasoning, and cumin.
  • Reserve the rendered oils from the turkey in the skillet the third time that you transfer the browned meat to the large pot.  Heat the rendered oil and add the chopped onion and garlic.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, until slightly browned.  Transfer to the large pot with the meat.
  • Reheat the empty skillet again until it is hot.  Add the 1/2 Cup of beer or broth to the hot skillet to deglaze the pan, and add the crispy bits of turkey, onion, and garlic to the meat mixture in the large pot.
  • Add the drained beans, chicken broth, and salsa to the pot.  Stir and heat to a simmer.  Heat mixture at a simmer for at least 5 minutes or until the fries are ready, stirring occasionally so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
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  • In a small bowl combine the chili powder, cayenne, and coarse salt.  Toss 1/3 of salt mixture with the fries in each pan.
  • Pour chili mixture into a large pan.  I use my 15″ X 11″ X 4″ lasagna pan.
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  • Sprinkle cilantro and green onions over the top.
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  • Pile seasoned fries on top.
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  • Option (serve with a bowl of crumbled cheese to use as a garnish).

I made this last night for our Thursday community dinner, along with a big salad.  (I forgot the bowl of crumbled cheese.)  It served 10 hungry young men, with enough leftovers to feed two more.  On a Monday night the same portions would have easily fed 14-16 young women!

Note: this is by far my favorite jarred green salsa, and the only one I use when I make this dish.

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Enjoy!

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