Southwestern Chili-Corn Chip Pie

Chili Corn-Chip Pie

Southwestern Chili-Corn Chip Pie

What Dreams May Come: “Dreams digest the meals that are our days.” -Terri Guillimets

Last night, I dreamt I went to Albuquerque. Don’t ask me why – I’ve never been to New Mexico in my entire life but would really love to visit Duke City someday. But for some strange reason (like there’s anything but strange reasoning in our sleeping visions), there I was in Albuquerque in a pueblo. Making corn tortillas with a very beautiful and mysterious woman. I have to say, the overall vibe of the dream seemed to be upbeat and positive, but it was obvious that there was something on the line. A big dinner for the boss perhaps. Or someone’s surprise birthday party that we had to pull off despite overwhelming odds for zero surprise. Or maybe we were being held hostage and, from us, our kidnappers only demanded some down home cooking. It could happen. It was weird and I awakened before the dream had a chance to wrap. But as I padded upstairs just as the sun was coming up, I thought about dream interpretations. Even have a book on it. There’s great symbology in dreams. Like if you’re being chased – an example that shows how we can be pursued by fears or emotions and can either continue to avoid them or face them. Hot water = emotions. Sex? Well, unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the act no matter how fabulous the scenario may have been or the movie star you were with and everything to do with personal “growth.” I won’t even dignify that little slip with a response, Sigmund.

But, whatever the subject, the dream is a nightly way to solve our problems and evolve. Just exactly what my husband’s dream was trying to say to him the other night is anyone’s guess. I am not opposed to any professional assessment on this one, either.

7 a.m. Saturday morning. Still dark.

I roll over, reach out, find Adam’s hand and take it in mine.

Adam (in a mumbled, sleepy voice): “I was just having the best dream before you woke me up.”

Me (quietly, so as to not stir the dogs so I don’t have to get up just yet to let them out): “Really? What was it about?”

Adam: “We found Jesus’ cornea.”

At this point, I pat down Bailey’s shaggy white fur to look at my husband over the tiny dog that insists on inserting herself under my chin and around my neck to sleep on my pillow. I raise my head slightly to see if I heard that last bit correctly.

Me: “You found what?” I said, not caring that my voice was getting loud.
Adam (slurring slightly): “Jesus’ cornea,” he repeated nonchalantly, like it was no biggie.
Me; “You mean like…Jesus, Jesus?”
Adam: (with eyes still closed) “Yes. that Jesus. We found his cornea.”
Me: “Where were you?”
Adam: “The Dead Sea.”
Me: “Of course you were.”
Adam: “AND, we were about to finish the DNA authentication to see if it was the actual one. Before you woke me up.”
Me: “We? You and who else?”
Adam: “I was with a team of scientists. I was their leader.”
Me: “Of course you were.”
Adam: “AND we were THIS close to the conclusive results before you woke me up.”
Me: “What do you think it means? That you are seeing something clearly? Hey, I know! Maybe you’re craving salt.”
Adam: “I don’t know but it was a good dream.”
Me: “Of course it was.”

Dear Self,

Sweetie, please understand and embrace that the inner working of your husband’s mind is a frightening place. You would be well-advised to never ask him “What are you thinking?” or about his dreams again. Like ever.

Love, Me

I’d like to think this recipe kind of found its inspiration from my dream. Or at least it got me thinking about masa. And, with all the state fairs and festivals going on right now, the idea just kind of dominoed from a straight-up chili into a chili-corn chip pie. So, I decided to give it a southwestern spin. The nice, subtle touch of masa (the dream connection!) gives great depth to the chili, it thickens it nicely and it adds fantastic flavor as well. Some sweet kernels of corn echo the theme. And, well shoot! If we’re going west, might as well throw in some black beans, tomatoes with chiles for good measure. The combination of the smoky, slightly spicy beef chili with some creamy tang from the sour cream, the sweet bite of corn with a little cheese and the crunch of the chips is the perfect tasty bite.

And the finished product, in my humble opinion, (do I dare say it?)…is dreamy.

Chili Corn-Chip Pie

Southwestern Chili-Corn Chip Pie

Recipe type: Entree, Main, Chili
Serves: 8

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup masa mixed with ⅓ cup water
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (11-ounce) can Mexicorn (corn with red and green bell peppers)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • corn chips, for serving

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium. Add the onions, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic; sauté 1 minute.
  2. Sprinkle in the beef, stirring to crumble and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, stirring often. Drain off any fat.
  3. Add in the tomato paste, all the spices and the masa. Continue to cook for several minutes. Add in the diced tomatoes, corn and black beans.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the chili simmer and thicken, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning before serving.
  5. Serve with the corn chips and desired toppings.

…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen: Planning: This dish is another great one-pot wonder for entertaining and meets my criteria: It’s delicious, beautiful to look at and can be made in advance. As with most tomato-influenced dishes, it’s even better made the day before to allow the flavors to meld. Product Purity: Masa, or masa harina, is Spanish for “dough,” or “dough flour” and is a flour made from corn. You can find it in the ethnic aisle of most grocery stores. Presentation: The traditional way to serve this festival favorite is to mound corn chips on a plate. Top with the chili and add your favorite toppings, like cheese, sour cream and pickled peppers. You could also go the tortilla route and serve this dish like a taco salad – in a fried tortilla shell – for a different and fun presentation. © 2012 Hutchstone, LLC. All rights reserved.

You might also like:

Southern Cornbread

Beef and Sausage Chili with Cumin


Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sauce

Grilled Corn On The Cob with Cotija Cheese, Cilantro and Lime Butter

Content and photography ©2012 Hutchstone, LLC. All rights reserved

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7 Responses to Southwestern Chili-Corn Chip Pie

  1. Pingback: Happy National Corn Chip Day!

  2. Rachel says:

    Made it for dinner tonight! Hubby said it was a winner!!

  3. Rachel says:

    Can you sub corn meal for the masa? I never have it on hand, but always have corn meal.

  4. Pingback: Chili Corn-Chip Pie

  5. Jen says:

    Perhaps your subconscious was telling you to come to the Balloon Fiesta, which is going on now here in Albuquerque. :) This looks like a great Frito pie recipe–I’ll have to try it out soon!