Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Rant About Nachos

In 1937 in Guadalajara, Mexico, a steel mill worker named Carlos Nunez was enjoying his favorite afternoon snack: sliced Jack cheese. Meanwhile, his co-worker on the job, one Miguel Santos, was snacking on the baked tortilla crisps his wife had made for him that morning. As they carried on in conversation with their respective snacks behind them on their work station, the heat emanating off of the nearby smelting equipment caused the cheese to melt into a gooey pile, inspiring the two men to dip the tortillas into the cheese, creating the world’s first nacho.

Just kidding. Actually, I have no idea how nachos were invented. But I’m sure it’s way less interesting than that.

Nachos are one of the staples of the appetizer world, and of course, I love them dearly. But there’s a problem in the nacho world these days: Lazy, cost-cutting nacho manufacturing.

If you’ve ever made nachos at home, (and really, who hasn’t?) you know the key: layering the cheese. You lay down a layer of chips, you lay down a layer of cheese, olives, sour cream, salsa, whatever. Repeat as necessary. Not layering your nachos is a rookie mistake, and yet restaurants continue to do it all the time. This is a farce and needs to be dealt with via vigilante justice, or blogging.

As a result of this dastardly nacho manuever, you wind up with about a dozen nachos and 30 or so plain tortilla chips. Now, who needs that? That’s certainly not what you’re after when you place the order. But alas, it’s commonplace. In fact, I hesitate to order nachos in restaurants because of the near-inevitability of disappointment.

But, my friends, it’s not all bad. Here are some phenomenal nachos you can make at home:


1lb Thick Bacon
1lb Chicken (your choice of cut)
Mexican Seasoning
1 Bag Tortilla Chips
8oz Montery Jack Cheese (it'll taste better if you buy a block and shred it yourself)
8oz Sharp Chedder Cheese (above)

Choice of Toppings:

Pickled Jalepenos
Chopped Cilantro
Ranch Dressing
Sour Cream
(anything under the sun - be creative)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Fry the bacon in a pan, drain the greese, lay on paper towls to dry. Crumble when cool.
Chop the chicken into small pieces and fry in the same pan you used to cook the bacon. Add Mexican Seasoning (to taste). Cook until done.

Layer chips down in a large casserole dish. Cover with a layer of shredded cheese. Sprikle on some crumbled bacon and chicken. Continue until all of the base ingredients are used or until you have no room left in your dish.

Place in the oven and cook until all of the cheese has melted (about 15 minutes).

Cover with the rest of your chosen toppings. I definitely recommend a generous drizzle of ranch dressing and some fresh chopped cilantro.

As you might expect, this dish is best served with a cold beer. Just try to avoid the Corona.

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