Growing up, there was this restaurant (at the mall of all places) that we would go to just for the nachos. My mom would take me and my sisters, and every time, we would order a big order of their nachos to share. I don’t remember ever having anything else there except those nachos. The restaurant has since closed, but to this day, I still crave those nachos. So when I saw the cover of Lisa Fain’s newest cookbook – The Homesick Texan’s Family Table – with a cast iron skillet full of nachos, I knew I had to have the cookbook just for that recipe.
I’m not a nacho snob. In fact, whenever I’m pregnant, I crave nachos, but the super simple melt the cheese on top of tortilla chips and serve with lots of pickled jalapeños kind. And I grew up getting ballpark nachos with the neon yellow cheese sauce, and yes – lots of pickled jalapeños. But these days, if I’m going to indulge, I’m going to make it good. And these Crazy Nachos? Well, this is the way you load up nachos!! Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Total Time: 1 hour 15 min
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ripe plum tomato, seeded, cored and diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 canned chipotle in adobo, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon masa harina or cornmeal
salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of ground cumin
1 teaspoon lime juice
vegetable oil, for frying
4 corn tortillas, quartered
1/3 cup refried beans
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 whole pickled jalapeños, sliced
1. To make the taco meat, heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add the beef and the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add in the tomato, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne and chipotle chile. Stir until the spices are distributed throughout the meat, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the masa harina or cornmeal and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lime juice, then remove from the heat.
2. To make the guacamole, mash the avocado until smooth. Stir in the jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, cumin and lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Preheat the oven to 375F.
3. To make the nachos, pour about 1/2" of oil in a large skillet. Heat to 350F. Fry the tortillas in batches until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes each, turning once. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
4. Place the chips close together, but not overlapping, on a baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet. Top each chip with about 1 teaspoon of refried beans and 2 tablespoons of the taco meat. Sprinkle each with about 2 tablespoons of cheese. Bake the nachos until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove the nachos from the oven and top each chip with 1 tablespoon of guacamole, 1 tablespoon of sour cream and 1 jalapeño slice.
*This made a lot more meat mixture than I actually used on the nachos. I probably could have made twice as many.
*I used chipotle chile powder instead of the actual chile in the taco meat.
Oh, my goodness. Now these are nachos!! Loaded with beans, beef, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and home pickled jalapeños, all loaded on top of home fried tortilla chips – this is the way nachos are meant to be done. The meat mixture was perfectly seasoned and all of the toppings were the perfect additions. I decided to go all out and make the recipe for the pickled jalapeños in the book as well, and they were a fun addition. You could definitely use jarred pickled jalapeños, though. I’m also a convert to frying your own tortilla chips now, too. It was actually quite simple, but they definitely added to the nachos.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
Yes. This cookbook is about sharing meals with family and friends, and I think that’s why this recipe resonated with me. Nachos definitely remind me of those lunches with my mom and sisters. And then I made new family memories by serving these to my family for dinner!