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updated: 1/30/2012 2:08 PM

A crowd-friendly taco bar fit for the Super Bowl

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  • A walking taco is a variety of toppings dumped into a snack-size bag of Fritos and eaten right from the bag.

      A walking taco is a variety of toppings dumped into a snack-size bag of Fritos and eaten right from the bag.
    Associated PRess

  • A walking taco is a variety of toppings dumped into a snack-size bag of Fritos and eaten right from the bag.

      A walking taco is a variety of toppings dumped into a snack-size bag of Fritos and eaten right from the bag.
    Associated PRess

  • A walking taco is a variety of toppings dumped into a snack-size bag of Fritos and eaten right from the bag.

      A walking taco is a variety of toppings dumped into a snack-size bag of Fritos and eaten right from the bag.
    Associated PRess

 
By Elizabeth Karmel, Associated Press

Whenever I think of Super Bowl Sunday, I think of chili and guacamole and chips. And Ro-Tel cheese dip. And Frito pie.

Because face it, people love to indulge in fatty, crunchy, salty foods they can munch while milling about or standing and watching the game in suspense. And if you make a dish that combines everyone's favorite football snacks, you've got a winning day regardless of who wins the game.

When I was growing up, the go-to football party food was seven-layer dip. Which is basically the same thing as Frito pie -- layers of Fritos corn chips, chili, cheese and other toppings.

A few months ago, I flew down South and when I arrived, I met a chef from New York who was essentially serving Frito pie, but calling it "The Walking Taco" -- a bunch of toppings dumped into snack-size bags of Fritos and eaten right from the bag.

I loved the name and concept, and immediately thought that it would be a great party food. I liked the idea of offering guests bags of chips and a buffet of toppings (chili, cheeses, vegetables, etc.) to let them assemble their own walking tacos. The medium snack bags are the best bet for this approach.

This make-your-own-bar is dramatic, and is easy on the cook. I like adding pulled chicken to the mix (buy a rotisserie chicken or make your own beer-can chicken and pull it once it is cool). Great homemade chili and guacamole are key, so I am including those recipes here. Otherwise, most of the ingredients are just purchased and put out for guests.

• Elizabeth Karmel is a grilling and Southern foods expert and executive chef at Hill Country Barbecue Market restaurants in New York and Washington, as well as Hill Country Chicken in New York. She is the author of three cookbooks, including "Soaked, Slathered and Seasoned."

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