Best Game Day Nachos

It’s September. Kids are going off to school, Fall is around the corner, and grapes are being harvested for this year’s vintage.

Oh, and tonight, a little game known as American Football begins it’s season. Families will gather around their televisions and friends will gather at their local watering hole to hope and dream that this is the year their team can win the whole thing. Or maybe just hoping that this won’t be another “rebuilding year.”

Father’s will cuss. Children will find heroes. Mother’s will respect the few coaches that actually wear suits on the sidelines (or they would, if any coaches were allowed to wear suits anymore.) Fast friends will become mortal enemies for the span of a few hours. Fantasy owners will celebrate every Touchdown.

And America’s consumption of guacamole will increase exponentially.

Now, you can’t just eat guacamole by itself. (Well, you could, I suppose, with a bowl and a spoon, but…eww.) You could just dip tortilla chips in the guacamole. But, if you want to have dinner in front of the television with friends or family, let’s elevate those chips to full fledged nachos. (I found Homeboy Tortilla Chips on sale for $2.99, which was a good deal. I also just like to help this local non-profit whose motto is, “Nothing stops a bullit like a job,” and they always have high quality products. Read more about them here.)

Now Nachos are made in every which way. It seems that just about any combination of cheese and tortilla chips qualifies as Nachos. I like to layer mine in a baking dish and roasting them in the oven for nice crispy chips and melted real cheese. I layer the chips with pulled chicken, refried back beans, and lots and lots of cheese. You can add your favorite ingredients too, though. Pickled jalepenos are delicious,  pinto instead of black beans, steak instead of chicken, or perhaps meatless ground beef from Trader Joe’s for the vegetarians.

And…of course…the guacamole.

There is a secret to great guacamole. There may be good guacamoles. There might even be guacamoles flirting with greatness. But no guac is right until you have added the secret ingredient:

Tequila.

Yup. The flavors of tequila with lime juice make the tequila sing. Now, don’t get crazy. You don’t want your guacamole getting anyone tipsy (that is the game day margarita’s job.) Just a capful will do. A tiny splash goes a long, long way.

If you do this, I promise, you will not make guacamole any other way.

So, invite over some friends, make sure your television is working, and may your team win the day. That is, of course, unless they are playing the 49ers.

Oven Baked Nachos

1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips

approx. 2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp. cumin, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder etc. (Use as many of these that you have on hand. It is only to flavor the chicken while it poaches and you can add whatever sounds good to you.)

1 bay leaf

1 bundle of green onions, chopped on a bias (fancy word for diagonally)

1 can of refried black beans (or whatever your  bean preference may be)

approx 2 cups of shredded mexican cheese (you may substitute mexican queso, cheddar, or even velveeta if thst is your preference)

  1. Add chicken and broth to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred. (This can be done by using two forks and “pulling” the chicken in opposite directions. A good image of this can be seen on Four and Twenty Blackbirds site here.) Retain some broth.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Form a “crust” at the bottom of a large casserole dish by crushing tortilla chips finely. Layer the bottom of the pan with these tortilla crumbs. Finish the “crust” by pouring a small amount of the retained broth broth over the tortilla crumbs.
  4. Add a single layer of tortilla chips of the tortilla crumb crust.  Top that layer with cheese, 1/2 of the can of refried beans, pulled chicken, and more cheese. Then add another layer of tortilla chips and repeat the process.
  5. Bake the nachos at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top of the nachos is lightly browning. Serve with sour cream, limes, salsa, and guacamole.
Remember to be creative. Just like a lasagna, there are no hard and fast rule about what to add to nachos.

 Tequila Spiked Guacamole

3 or 4 Avocados

1 tomato, diced finely

several sprigs of cilantro, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. onion powder

1 Tbsp. lime juice

1 tsp. tequila

salt and pepper

  1. Using a butcher knife, cut all the way around the avocado. Twist the two halves and open the avocado. Spoon the avocado into a bowl, discarding the seed. With the last avocado, instead of spooning straight into the bowl, cut a cross-hatch pattern into the meat of the avocado, and then scoop it into the bowl. These larger chunks will create pockets of larger avocado chunks for a difference in consistency and texture.
  2. Add the tomato, cilantro, onion powder, lime juice, tequila, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking.
Guacamole can be made a day in advance as long as it is kept covered tightly to prevent browning.
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