Musings and photos of my attempts to create edible food.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bad days and bad meals (or Comfort food and Nachos)

I live in hope that my wife and I are not the only ones who have "bad days". These are the times when your computer crashes, you can't seem to make any headway at work and it's dark and wet outside. You can tell you're having one of these days because you're curled up on the sofa underneath a patchwork quilt watching a trashy movie. Well I can at any rate! Jenny and I plan for these little crises in life. Normally with food. There are several meals we just refer to as "bad meals". We can have them on a good day too but they are definitely comfort food. Some of our favourites are actually quite healthy. Not this one. 

My first realisation that nachos could be more than greasy pub snack food was courtesy of dinner at a friend's house. Instead of the usual stack of nachos buried under a layer of cheese, served with amorphous blobs of coloured goo, a roasting tin emerged from the kitchen with far more than just nachos and cheese in (there was meat and vegetables and everything!). Rather than sinking under the weight of grease, this meal was light enough that it felt natural to have salad with it (rather than having salad as a way of guiltily trying to offset the badness). Alongside it all was some lovely fresh bread. It was definitely a light summer meal and it actually felt healthy. Above all it made me think about nachos as a platform for distributing flavours through rather than just as shovels for salsa!

In the quest to make ultimate nachos a certain focus on the comfort food side of things means ours are not light and summery but they certainly tick all the boxes on a bad day! It is, in fact, so bad that we are yet to serve it in polite company. Please enjoy our naughty little secret:

Joe's Nachos:

Serves 4 (6 if you added salad and nice bread)
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Peppers (colour doesn't matter)
  • 200g Chorizo (or as much as you like)
  • 1 Tin of Refried Beans
  • 300g Grated Cheese (I like to use cheddar)
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 400g Tortilla Chips (cheap ones are fine)

For the Salsa:

  • 1 Small Onion
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 6 Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Good Oil (I use rapeseed oil out of preference but anything you would use on a salad is fine)
  • Coriander (if available)

Optional Extras:

  • Pickled Chillies
  • Soured Cream

First thing to make is the salsa - it needs time to sit and allow the flavours to blend. In a push 10 minutes will do but 24 hours is a whole heap better! Chop the onion finely, mince the garlic and add with the oil and vinegar into a glass bowl. Hack up the tomatoes into small lumps and mix it all in. Add a pinch of salt and, if you wish to, chillies to taste (the onion and garlic provide a decent kick to begin with so taste as you go).  We didn't have any fresh coriander around so we left it out but a little herbs help lift the salsa. If you want to feel extra summery add some lemon or lime juice as well (you may wish to use a little less vinegar to keep the acidity balanced). Shove this mix in the fridge for later (or eat it with a spoon whilst cooking the rest).

For the main nacho's dish, halve the onion and slice, frying it off with the garlic (minced) and the chopped up chorizo. Cook this slowly and long enough to start to crisp up the outside of the chorizo. Whilst it is cooking add in the spices (ground first of course), chop up the pepper into strips and preheat the oven to 180 C. Once it is all looking a little brown add in the peppers and continue to cook until they are al dente.
Layer up your roasting tin with tortillas, refried beans, cheese and the mix from your pan and bake for 5-10 mins until the cheese is starting going golden brown.

Serve with pickled chillies, a pile of salsa and an (un)healthy dollop of soured cream.

1 comment:

  1. You are so welcome to serve this next time we visit! I'm pretty sure we don't count as polite company anyway...