I had my wisdom teeth removed last Monday. Complete bony impaction. On Sunday I developed mild dry socket. Today is Monday (again!). I can’t eat super solid food, or especially crunchy food, so I think it’s a good day to make a post about nachos which I ESPECIALLY cannot eat.
We have a local Mexican restaurant “chain” here (if three restaurants counts as a chain). I went there one time on the way home from a horse show as a kid and had their fajita nachos. These nachos stuck with me for YEARS.
Until one day I went back as an adult, and, by some grace of god, found the same dish and ordered it. And somehow it was still exactly the same as before. Ooey, gooey, goodness. I also went back last Saturday before my tooth extraction so I could have a last crunchy meal before weeks of no chips. And then I followed it with huge margaritas, which I also cannot have.
But, it’s not super cheap at that place, and I eat out way too much, so I needed to learn to make this one at home. And mine is maybe a bit better, if I do say so myself!
First is learning to make cheese sauce at home. Here’s a spoiler: That white cheese sauce at Mexican restaurants? It’s not some fancy Central-American cheese. It’s white American. I use Swiss flavored American. It’s all whatever.
And then is learning to blacken the crap out of some vegetables. Never done that before. But it’s easy. Just have some steel wool ready for your pan and DO NOT COOK THIS IN NON-STICK OR PORCELAIN. Stainless steel is your friend for things that burn on.
And finally, I’m lazy and I don’t really like chunks of steak. So I use roast beef from the deli. I, personally, think it lends the same flavor and a better texture. But if you want to marinate and fry steak then be my guest.
Okay, so let’s talk about how to actually make the nachos. Here’s the recipe card for you to print, if you so desire!
It’s also reeaaallllyyyyyy long. But it’s simple! It takes under an hour to make, from start to finish, I promise! You can also make the meat and veggies ahead though, if you so desire.
- 15 corn tortillas, cut into 8 wedges each
- Canola Oil (for frying or baking)
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 pound medium roast beef from the deli
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 – 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, washed and stems trimmed
- 1 red onion, sliced into rings
- 1 tomato, sliced and deseeded
- 2 green bell peppers, sliced into rings and deseeded
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Cheese Sauce
- 8-oz white American cheese or Swiss flavored American cheese
- 1/4 cup milk
- Black pepper, to taste
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- To make the chips, stack up about 15 corn tortillas (flour tortillas will not be the same, cook the same, or taste the same, for real). Then slice them into about 8 wedges with a knife of pizza wheel.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, once it’s hot, lightly coat your tortilla wedges in canola oil. Toss them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 10 minutes, take them out, flip them all, and then toss them back in for another 7 – 10 minutes.
- Take them out, sprinkle with salt, and put them on a cooling rack (over a baking sheet and/or paper towels) to drain.
- This was a new technique for me (charring veggies like this in a pan), but it was super easy. I got it on the first try!
- Start by heating up a shallow layer of olive oil (maybe about 2 tablespoons, but it will depend on the size of your cooking vessel) in a large pan or a pot. You want to use stainless steel though in case anything burns you’ll be able to use steel wool to get it off. Use medium-high heat. You want it to be hot and starting to ripple but absolutely not smoking. If it smokes, take it off, cool it down, and throw it away.
- Once the oil is hot, toss the onions and peppers in and let them start to char. You want to let them all cook in one layer on the bottom of the pan, and not move them around TOO much. You want them not to stick, but you only want to flip them once one side is mostly done. About a minute on each side. Repeat until they reach your desired doneness.
- Once the onions and peppers are done, set them aside. Then toss your tomatoes into the pan/pot. These have a lot of liquid so you probably won’t want to use more oil. Let them char for a minute or two, but then remove them so they don’t get soggy at all.
- When these are done, add them to the peppers and onions and set them all aside.
- Next is time to make the meat portion. You can re-use the same pot again for this if you want to (I did).
- Take the lime juice, cilantro, chipotles, garlic, and olive oil and add them to a food processor (or use an immersion blender) and process until just barely pureed. This is the “marinade”.
- Next take your deli meat and roughly chop it or tear it into pieces in a large bowl. Pour the marinade and combine it.
- Next, heat the pan over medium heat (no oil). Once hot, toss in the meat and marinate and fry it until all of the liquid is dissolved.
- When it’s done, set it aside.
- First, shred up the cheddar cheese! This is not for your sauce, but this is a good time to do it since you will need it soon and you don’t want to have to let the cheese sauce sit and harden while you shred.
- Then add the milk and the American cheese (cut into small chunks or slices so it melts better) to a small pot over low heat. You want to use a small pot so that the sauce doesn’t cook too fast or burn. Let these melt together and stir frequently.
- When the cheese is about 80% melted, add your black and cayenne pepper, and continue stirring until fully melted.
- Use right away.
- Heat your oven to 350.
- Then lay your salted chips on a baking sheet, topped with your veggies and meat.
- Then top with shredded cheese and pour over cheese sauce.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until everything is hot and the shredded cheese is appropriately melty.