Nacho Nacho Mama!
Every time I think of nachos, I’m reminded of a cheesy commercial from back in the 90’s with a rather portly gentleman doing a dance to a rendition of the Village People’s “Macho Man” substituting “nacho” for “macho” Call it what you will, but it was marketing genius, forever imprinting the idea that nachos were fun and, in the right situation, downright hilarious. What makes it even better? Hearing Mai sing her own version of it as I make nachos, “Nacho Nacho Ma-maaa” Hello awesome, thy name is nacho makin’ mama…
Now nachos can come in a plethora of varieties…from your run of the mill chips slathered in cheez whiz to the upper echelon of nacho royalty boasting Wagyu beef, avocado crème fraiche, and Béchamel sauce. I prefer to wing it somewhere in the middle. I like to show that I care, but I still believe this to be a comforting, quick dish that shouldn’t require more exotic ingredients than what is available in my pantry. Although, I do have to admit, Wagyu beef, crème fraiche, and Béchamel sauce do sound darn sexy!
I have for years typically went canned or jarred for my nacho assembly…canned chili, jarred salsa and pickled jalapenos, and bagged shredded cheese and tortillas. And for what it’s worth, they were mighty mighty fine nachos, but let’s face it, nothing beats freshly prepared ingredients. If you say it doesn’t matter, I’m taking your spatula away from you, rescinding your blog subscription, and burning your membership card.
So, I give you the new uber nachos. Forget the Hormel canned chili, put your jarred salsa back into the pantry and say hello to your new little friends…seasoned sautéed ground beef with black beans and fresh pico de gallo. If you said this in the Al Pacino voice from “Scarface” you get bonus points…
I whipped these up last Friday night and they were a total hit. I had never made pico de gallo before and after making it last week, I wonder why I never even bothered to figure out what it was and make it. Simply chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and jalapeno with a wee bit of salt, it brings a freshness to so many Mexican dishes and is such a snap to prepare. Epiphany moment? Yes.
Adapted from Rachel Ray
2 bags corn tortilla chips in 2 colors or different flavors, such as blue corn, red corn, yellow corn, lime flavored, chili flavored or black bean chips — pick 2 favorites
1-2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
For Pico de Gallo
4 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, for medium to hot heat level
1 small white onion, chopped
1/4 cup, 2 handfuls, cilantro leaves, finely chopped
For beef and beans topping
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground sirloin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dark chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper sauce
1 can black beans, 15 ounces, drained
Chopped black olives
Sliced avocado, dressed with lemon juice
Hot pepper sauces
Combine pico de gallo ingredients in a bowl and set aside for flavors to marry.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, onion and peppers to the pan and saute 2 minutes, then add meat and crumble with wooden spoon. Season meat with salt, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper sauce. Cook meat 5 minutes, then stir in beans and reduce heat to low.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange a mixture of 2 varieties of corn chips on a very large oven safe platter or use your broiler pan as a platter. Sprinkle liberally with cheese and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes
Top nachos and cheese plate evenly with beef and beans and the pico de gallo. UBER NACHOS! Serve immediately as is or, garnish with your choice of extra toppings from the toppings list.