2015-01-30 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Nachos are super meal and real crowd pleaser
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

Whether you are watching the Super Bowl or just relaxing with friends and family, Nachos can be a real crowd pleaser. Making Nachos is a step by step process and if you follow each step, it won’t be daunting. The end result with be well worth the effort.

I have included a basic recipe for nachos that includes beef. If you prefer vegetarian, you can easily substitute beans or refried beans for that step.

Give it a try and enjoy the game.

Beef nachos

Guacamole: 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and removed from skins; juice of 2 limes; kosher salt and ground black pepper; ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped; and 1 jalapeno, minced.

Pico De Gallo: ¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped; 4 ripe roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice (about 2 cups); 1 jalapeno, minced; juice of 1 lime;

Beef: 2 tablespoons canola oil; 1 small yellow onion, cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup); 4 cloves garlic, minced; 1 pound ground beef; 1 teaspoon chili powder; 1 tablespoon ground cumin; 1 teaspoon smoked paprika; 1 cup beef stock; and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce.

Basics: 1 (9 ounce) bag tortilla chips; 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated; 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated; and Mexican crema, for drizzling (or use sour cream).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a rack on the second to the top position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil leaving a 2-inch overhang on each side. Set aside.

For the guacamole: Place the avocados and lime juice in a mixing bowl and season with salt and black pepper. Mash, using a potato masher until mostly smooth. Fold in the cilantro and jalapeno. Season with more salt and black pepper as needed. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole and refrigerate.

For the Pico de Gallo: Combine the cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeno, lime juice and onions in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and black pepper and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

For the beef: Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until lightly browned and starting to soften and break apart, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring until beef breaks down and starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the chili powder, ground cumin and smoked paprika and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce and continue cooking until the stock has reduced by half and the beef is cooked through, 3 or 4 more minutes. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm while you prepare the cheesy tortilla chips.

For assembly: Spread the tortilla chips onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, allowing some overlap. Scatter the cheddar and Monterey Jack evenly on top and bake until the cheese is melted and the chips are warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon the beef mixture evenly over the chips using a slotted spoon. Top with dollops of guacamole and half of the Pico de Gallo. Drizzle with crema and serve the remaining Pico de Gallo on the side. The nachos can be served directly on the baking sheet or you can lift the foil onto a large platter.

Note: the Pico de Gallo can be made the day before, but make the guacamole the day you plan to serve it for freshness and vibrant color.

Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

Return to top