HOW TO MAKE THE BEST NACHOS
Nachos are among the most delicious and appetizing dishes of Tex-Mex cuisine. They can be a fascinating choice as a snack, appetizer, or a solo dinner. However, sometimes baking them can end up with soggy tortillas; that’s why I always prefer to prebake for a couple of minutes before topping the tortillas with the rest of the stuff.
WHY TO CHOOSE NACHOS
Have you ever appeared in a situation when you spent most of the time in the groceries and coming back home, realized that it’s beyond your strength to cook something? And there come nachos; tasty, healthy and easy-peasy.
Another reason to choose them is that they contain various types of food: meat, veggies, cheese, different spices, sour cream, salsa, beans, lime juice, guacamole, to name just a few. They are rich with carbs and proteins. But, keep in mind that their nutritional value depends on what kind of food you choose to make them. Don’t worry, here I will give you some tips with which you can make the most crispy and nutritious nachos.
But before getting to tips about different aspects of nachos, let’s, first of all, look through their history.
HOW NACHOS ORIGINATED
The history begins from 1943 in the city of Piedras Negras, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. This is where the first nachos were made. The problem was that the wives of U.S. soldiers came to Piedras for a shopping trip, and arriving at the Victory Club restaurant, they discovered it closed for a day.
They might stay hungry if there were not a woman named “El Nacho” Anaya, who created a new dish for them. Anaya gathered everything available in her kitchen: she took tortillas, cut them into triangles and fried them, added cheese, heated all the stuff, and in the end, seasoned it with sliced pickled jalapeño peppers.
When the woman was asked how the snack was called, she didn’t hesitate and gave them her own nickname; “Nacho’s Especiales.” As you see, the name has been shortened after that, and the dish became known as “Nacho.”
But the recipe of Nacho changed somehow too. Today it’s made not only from tortillas and cheese but also from various other toppings. So, let’s get some tips about what toppings for Nacho go best!
The most crucial ingredient is beef, which is mixed with the refried bean. This is not only healthy and gives much protein, but also it makes your dish easy to eat as beans help the beef stick to the tortillas.
The next essential ingredient is, of course, cheese. Different kinds of cheese can be used for this purpose, including American cheese, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, to name just a few. I think the cheddar is best for classic nachos. Whatever you choose, the important thing is that it should be shredded, so it’s up to you to decide whether you want to do it by yourself or you want to buy already shredded cheese.
Here are some other great ingredients that you can use to top your nachos:
- thinly sliced green onions and tomatoes,
- sliced fresh or pickled jalapeño,
- sour cream, etc.
To make your nachos protein-rich, you can choose different kinds of meat, such as grilled chicken, pork seasoned with various spices, brisket, steak, and so on.
As for carbs, you can take different veggies and sprinkle on top of it, such as sliced tomatoes, zucchini, chili. All this time, we spoke only about the toppings of the nachos, but what about the chips? How to make them in the right way?
WHAT ABOUT THE CHIPS?
Best chips for nachos, at least for me, are homemade tortillas cut into triangles and fried. But many of us may not have the opportunity to make it because they are short of time. There is no need to worry, cause you can easily find already made tortillas in most of the supermarkets.
A tip for choosing chips for nachos: always avoid taking thin chips as they will break in the middle of lifting toppings to eat them!
Triangle tortillas are mostly used for nachos, but it’s up to you to decide whether you want it to be triangle or circle, or something else. Round tortillas can also work, especially for the elderly and for children.
GOT SOGGY TORTILLAS?
Another thing that should be mentioned here is that tortilla chips can get soggy if they aren’t made in the right way. I can bet this is not what you are expecting. They will make your nacho eating process a real hell!
Hence, to avoid this nightmare, you can prebake them before adding toppings in the oven at the temperature 350°F.
Another great way of avoiding soggy chips is to add a cheese-layer between the toppings and nacho. The cheese will melt and prevent your chips from getting soggy for a while.
HOW TO MAKE THE PROCESS EASIER?
One of the most fascinating things about nachos that I like most of all is their versatility. They can be a great choice in both situations; if you want to cook something just for fun and if you are in a hurry and need to make something very quickly.
Seriously? Is this possible?
Yes, you can buy nacho ingredients in supermarkets and give only 10 minutes for baking it. But if you aren’t fond of store-bought toppings, you can prepare nacho toppings a few days earlier when you are free and have much time for it. Then you can keep it in the fridge and use it whenever you want.
However, there is a type of topping which is recommended to bake before nacho-cooking day. It’s guacamole. If you keep it longer, it can get brown.
WHAT TO USE FOR BAKING?
You had better use a wide platter for making nachos. In this way, you can avoid having multi-layered chips and putting chips on the top of each other. This way of making nachos ensures that each tortilla chip has to top on it.
IS IT OK TO KEEP NACHO LEFTOVERS?
I strongly recommend not to do this. Just make sure how much is enough for one-time eating and don’t keep already baked nachos for later, as they get soggy, and their taste gets disappointing.
Also, don’t try to reheat them, especially when it is topped with sour cream.
And in the end, let me share with you a wonderful recipe for making yummy nachos
- Tortilla chips – homemade or bought – 1 large bag
- Ground beef – 85–90% lean ground beef is best for this purpose – 1 pound
- Beans – canned or homemade and refried – 2 cups
- Cheese – you can use 2 kinds of cheese (Cheddar and Colby Jack or Mexican) – 4 ounces of each cheese + more for topping
- Sliced jalapeño – 1 fresh or pickled
- Water – ¼ cup
- Vegetable oil – 1 teaspoon
- Chopped cilantro
FOR TOPPINGS (FREE CHOICE)
- Sour Cream
- Mexican crema
- Pico de galo
- Black pepper – ¼ teaspoon
- Chili powder – 2 teaspoons
- Dried oregano – ½ teaspoon
- Granulated garlic and onion – 1 teaspoon of each one
- Kosher salt – 1 and a half teaspoon
- Ground cumin – 1 teaspoon
- Heat the oven to 350 F
- Let’s start making beef and bean topping at first. Mix all the spices mentioned in the spice section in a bowl. Pour the oil in the pan and heat it on medium-high, and then add beef! Season it with the spice mixture and when the meat cooks break with a spoon into crumbles.
When the meat becomes brown, dry it removing the fat, return to the pan, then add refried beans and water. You should keep this mixture warm until you prepare chips.
- It’s time to preheat the chips in the way I described below. So, arrange the tortilla chips in one layer and keep it in the oven for 5 minutes. Take the pan from the oven and top it with a layer of shredded cheese.
- Wait for a while so that the cheese melts. When the cheese is melted, add beef and bean mixture, the remaining cheese, and return the mass to the oven. This is for making the rest of the cheese melted.
- And the last step: take the pan from the oven, top the nacho with the toppings you have chosen and serve. Be sure that you are serving it hot!