The Best Nachos Ever
I don’t often post recipes. Okay, I never post recipes. But these nachos are so goddamned good, I think everybody should be packing pounds onto their hips right along with me.
These nachos are inspired by those served at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, Nuevo Leon, and I hope they don’t mind my posting my version here. I would still rather go there to eat them, because they cost $6.00 for twelve, which is more than any sane person should eat in one sitting. You can go to the liquor store next door and get yourself a six pack of Modelo, plop down at Nuevo Leon (they’ll put your beer in the fridge for you and bring you one when you’re thirsty) and eat until your stomach has reached such epic proportions that you cannot be unwedged from your booth.
Anyway, the nachos:
Get yourself some high-quality tortilla chips. Absolutely no Tostitos or any crap like that. Most chain grocery stores in my area have begun to sell good-quality tortilla chips in their “Hispanic” aisle. If yours doesn’t, then hunt down a Mexican grocery store and get some. I recommend Del Rey or El Ranchero. There is a brand called Nuevo Leon (I’ve no idea if they’re affiliated with the restaurant), but while they are excellent for chips and salsa and are as fresh as if you’ve just sat down at a good Mexican place that makes their own, they don’t hold up under the pressures of beans, cheese, etc.
Anyway, I like the Del Rey’s the best because they are generally flat and pretty hardy.
1 can refried beans. It doesn’t really matter what kind. I’d forgo the Taco Bell kind for La Victoria or Rosarita, but just go for the can that says “Traditional.” If you buy the no-fat beans, then you’re a loser. (Okay, okay, you can buy the no-fat beans and some no-fat sour cream and some no-fat cheese and try to make these nachos, and you can also try to tell me that they’re just as good as using the full-fat versions of all the ingredients, but I will just laugh in your skinny, fat-free face).
The following step is skippable if you just can’t wait. If you choose to skip it, just spread a bunch of beans onto each individual chip and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet (why foil lined? Do you really want to stand at the sink, your belly full of deliciousness, and scrub baked-on cheese off your good Williams Sonoma cookie sheet? No. You do not. Just use the damn foil, then you can toss it and just put the cookie sheet away.) If you choose NOT to skip this step, then do this: empty the beans into a saucepan and shake as much hot sauce as you like into the beans. Heat until they are smooth. This makes the beans more spreadable, and also adds the spice of the hot sauce. You can go ahead and use Tabasco, because you’ve probably already got some in your refrigerator. If you don’t, buy yourself a good Mexican hot sauce. You won’t be sorry. Anyway, after the beans are heated, spread them onto the individual chips (as described above).
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese: Buy it already shredded. Who has time to fucking stand over a pan of chips and beans with a shredder? Plus, if you accidentally shred one of your knuckles, you’re going to have to worry that you are eating part of your own body in a few minutes. And that’s just gross. Sure, sure, you can shred the cheese BEFORE moving to the bean step, but what kind of cheap bastard are you? Sure, the big block of cheese is cheaper. But after you eat some of these nachos, you are going to want to make some more, especially since the fiends you shared them with ate most of them, and you are certainly not going to have the patience to shred some more cheese. In addition to that, if you somehow decide NOT to make more nachos, you’re going to have this big hunk of cheese left over, and it’ll probably get all moldy and nasty and hard and rindy in your fridge, and who needs it? You’ll throw it away, and end up making the per-ounce price of the cheese higher than if you’d just bought the damn pre-shredded cheese in the first place.
Okay, so you’ve got your pan of chips with the lovely beans spread on them (by the way, use as many beans as you like. Some people love refried beans, some, not so much. They are required in this recipe, however, so don’t try skipping them. You’ll have an inferior nacho not worth your time or trouble). Anyway, sprinkle your shredded cheese over the beans/chips. Not too much! Don’t go crazy with the fricking cheese already! This isn’t a pan pizza, for chrissakes, this is a pan of nachos. Too much cheese will just bind you up and give you gas.
Place the whole cheesey-beany-chippy wonder under the broiler of your oven. Now, here’s where it gets tricky. The inexperienced will want to do the following BEFORE they begin anything else, but once you’ve gotten it down to a science, like I have, you can do this next step AS THE NACHOS ARE BROILING. But be careful. If you take too long and space out, you’ll burn your nachos, and that sucks. Even if you don’t burn them, if you take too long to do this next step, and your broiled nachos are sitting on the stove, waiting for the next step, they’ll get a little mushy and cold and that’s no good either.
Anyway, VERY QUICKLY, whip up a simple guacamole. This sounds harder than it is, but all you have to do is slice up your avocado (around the center, you know how to do it), spoon out the delicious avocado (meat? What the hell is that green shit called, anyway?) into a bowl, pour in about a tsp of salt, maybe a bit more, and squeeze half a lime into it (you can use the other half for your vodka tonics). Using a fork, mash it all up together. Don’t go crazy. You don’t need to create some uniform avocado soup. Leave some of those nice yellow chunks in there. Yum. DO NOT, under any circumstances, use some pre-made guacamole. That shit’s nasty. It takes exactly thirty seconds to whip up a simple guac, okay? It will take you longer to find scissors to cut open that stupid plastic bag of pre-made guacamole.
So, right when you’ve finished mixing up your simple guac, your nachos will be perfectly broiled (the cheese is melted and the edges of some of the chips are turning brown). Take them out of the oven, and with speed unparalleled, spoon a blop (yes, a blop. It’s like a dollop, but I like the way it sounds better) of guac ONTO EACH CHIP. Then, quick as you can, spoon a blop of sour cream onto the top of each blop of guac.
Eat one. Decide it’s not necessary to place the nachos on a pretty, decorative plate. Eat them, standing up, at the stove. When the people sitting outside on your porch, drinking and waiting for the promised nachos, call out, “Are they done yet?” yell “Just a minute!” (only it’ll sound like “ubamini!” because your mouth is full of nacho. Share the remaining nachos with your friends. Accept their praise, then tell them where you got the fantastic recipe.
Make more. Repeat ad nauseum until you’ve gained 20 pounds. Vow to start using fat free beans, cheese and sour cream. Try it once and realize it’s not worth it. Throw the fat-free version in the garbage and send your children to the store with a $10 bill for more ingredients.
Next time I make them, I’ll take a picture. If I can before they all get eaten.