Nachos are considered more “Tex Mex” than Mexican, being an invention of one Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, a restaurateur serving American servicemen in the 1940s. At their essence, they are simply a layer of tortilla chips with melted cheddar cheese and jalapeño peppers. Unfortunately, the sports stadium concessionaires got a hold of the nachos idea and ruined it by using melted, processed Velveeta cheese, instead of real cheddar. So now, many people think that that’s what nachos are. How distressing! Nachos are all about the ingredients – the best tortilla chips, freshly made refried pinto beans, grated cheddar cheese, jalapeño peppers, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and fresh cilantro.
Canned refried beans can be used for this recipe, of course. But you are truly missing out by not trying to make your beans fresh. It’s a whole other world. Regarding the salsa, there are two kinds of tomato salsa that we use often, one with fresh tomatoes and one with cooked. We used to make the cooked tomato salsa from scratch, but there are so many great prepared salsas on the market these days, that we don’t ours from scratch very often. This recipe works best with the cooked tomato salsa, but really, you can use any salsa.
- Tortilla chips - extra thick - 1 14-oz bag
- Refried beans - 2-3 cups
- Cheddar Cheese - 1/2 lb, grated, about 3 cups
- Pickled jalapeno peppers - 4 peppers, sliced
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange a layer of tortilla chips along the bottom of a wide, shallow baking pan. It will make things easier if this baking pan also can be used as a serving pan, such as the ceramic platter shown in the photo above. The layer of tortilla chips can be a couple chips thick. Spread the refried beans over the chips (this is why you need extra thick chips, so they don't break when encountering the beans). Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of chips and beans. Sprinkle slices of jalapeño peppers over the cheese. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 5 minutes in a convection oven.
2 Serve with dollops of salsa, sour cream and guacamole, with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top.
What is pictured above is a half-recipe.
Yield: Serves 8.