More tex-mex than authentic Mexican food, nachos are one of my all time favorite foods. What could be better than crunchy chips, melted cheese, and creamy toppings? Seriously just thinking about nachos gets me all excited! There are endless varieties and ways to make them, but whatever way you do it, every home cook must master nachos. If you are short on time and skill, pop open a few cans (refried beans, salsa, jalapenos, etc.), pour the contents over a bag of chips, zap it in the microwave and within minutes you have a heavenly, gooey treat. If you have tons of time and lots of culinary experience, fry up some tortilla chips, mix up some guac, salsa, and an oozing cheese sauce in order to create a gourmet version of this stadium standby. Check out both recipes to decide which one suits your needs, just
One 16-ounce can refried beans
1/2 cup reduced-fat or regular sour cream
3/4 cup bottled salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
A few big handfuls of yellow corn tortilla chips
- With a large spoon spread out the beans in a ring on a large microwave-safe dinner plate, leaving clear about 4 inches in the center of the plate. That's where you're going to pile the chips.
- Smear the sour cream and then the salsa over the beans.
- Sprinkle about half of the cheese and then the cilantro over everything. As you build up the layers, be sure to leave the space in the center of the plate empty.
- Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove the plate from the microwave, pile the chips in the center of the plate, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the chips.
- Return the plate to the microwave and nuke again on high for 1 minute, until the cheese has melted.
- Use a pot holder to take the plate out of the oven; it will be hot. Dash with a couple pinches of chopped cilantro. Serve hot.
Makes 1 large platter.
For the smoked chicken:
1 whole chicken
2 pounds wood chips (flavor of choice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Flour Tortilla Chips:
1 gallon vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons your favorite dry rub (recommended: Hog Wild Special Dry Sauce)
24 (10-inch) flour tortillas
Nacho Cheese/Queso Sauce:
1 pound pasteurized cheese (recommended: Velveeta)
8 ounces shredded Cheddar
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies (recommended: Ro-tel)
1 tomato, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ancho or chipotle (or other) ground chile pepper
For the assembly:
2 heirloom tomatoes, diced
4 jalapenos, sliced very thin
2 cups sour cream
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup chopped chives
- Preheat an outdoor grill and split the chicken in 1/2 from head to tail. Soak the wood chips in water for about 10 minutes. This will prevent the wood chips from burning as soon as they come in contact with the fire. Place the wood chips in the bottom of a grill below the grates. Set the flame on 1 side of the grill to medium and the other side to medium high.
- Place the chicken, skin side up, on the medium side of the grill. Cover and allow the chicken to smoke and grill at the same time. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the chicken to cool completely before shredding the meat off the bones. Reserve for the assembling of the nachos.
- Meanwhile, make the tortilla chips: place oil in a deep fryer or in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven. Heat oil to 325 degrees F.
- Combine salt and dry rub in a small bowl. Cut tortillas into chip-sized triangles.
- When oil is 325 degrees F, carefully add cut tortillas and deep fry for about 3 minutes, turning at least once until a light golden brown.
- Remove chips from oil and dust with salt-dry rub mixture.
- Make the nacho cheese sauce: combine all ingredients in a double boiler and stir until melted. Season with salt, to taste.
- Form an assembly line with all of the ingredients. Start with the serving dish, then the chips, chicken, cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, sour cream, cilantro and chives.