Thanksgiving Nachos

What do Nacho Hunters do with thanksgiving leftovers? Make fucking nachos, that’s what.

Christopher kindly supplied the family with more than enough expertly roasted turkey from Torrisi (famed for having the best turkey sandwich in NYC), which we cubed for the purposes of the nachos. Rather than add beans or any other heavy accompaniment, we simply carmelized a few onions. For cheese we used cheddar, pepperjack, and Habenero jack. Store bought chips served as base. We baked all at 350 for 30 minutes.

We finished the nachos with a drizzle of warmed “Harvest” salsa from Brooklyn Salsa Company. The sweet pumpkin and squash mix hit perfectly with the turkey and carmelized onions.

Images follow.

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Larb Nachos

These nachos are inspired by Christopher’s trip to Cambodia. There he ate nachos with gloriously spiced ground chicken. Here, we took a rather simple larb recipe… with ample lemongrass and hot chili… stolen from Foodnetwork and paired the meat with a very thin cheese sauce prepared with Habanero jack. Our initial desire was to use freshly fried wantons. However, a sample batch proved the wanton too weak to handle the heft of our topping. As such, we reverted to our preferred chip – freshly fried corn tortilla wedges.

The pictures after the jump tell the full story.

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Nick’s Crispy Tacos, San Francisco

A month ago I was in San Francisco without Gritz, which allowed me to sample some nachos with his forbidden meat – beef.

While San Francisco’s Mission district is full of amazing taquerias and home to the nations best burritos, I opted to take the hunt to Russian Hill. Why? Because I was lured by a name, Nick’s Crispy Tacos. Few Mexican ‘straunts bear my name, and I was staying in the neighborhood, making it a two for one kind of strike. Nachos and a namesake. Would the decision fail me?

At $6.75, a plate of Carne Asada nachos at Nick’s was ample for two. The build was average with chips piled up and covered in a homemade cheese sauce. Given my love of cheese sauces outside the yellow goop norm, this was an exciting discovery when the nachos emerged from the kitchen. Sadly, seasoning did not match anticipation. To call the sauce bland wouldn’t be a knock, just a truth.

Double thick freshly fried chips provided an ideal base for the hearty toppings. The carne asada gave much needed flavor to the cheese sauce. A very smooth guacamole and chunky pico granted a range of texture with each snatched chip. These were clearly quickly thrown together nachos, yet maintained an individuality through a well conceived interplay of components. Tender meat, smooth sauces, crisp tomato, crunchy chips. Textures at Nick’s became more important than taste.

And then, there were the surroundings. Nick’s is really just a corner stand within a velvet covered bar. A rather odd daytime feel for such street foods. Unlike the sublime nachos at Bar 89, which fit the environment to a T, nachos at Nick’s are a counterpoint. Quick and dirty food vs. glitz and glamor drinking.

The singular achievement of the dish at Nick’s came in the form of the carne asada. It took the plate from average to slightly above. Managing to cover, but not overwhelm, the chips, not a cube of meat was left on the plate after careful consumption of each chip. For this, Nick’s gets a 6.5 on 10.

Reader Recipes | T. Wise

nacho hunters - Reader Recipes | T. Wise

Our favorite British hunt companion and English teacher T. Wise sent us his newly devised signature nacho dish. We’ve crawled through the bars of London and Oxford with him in search of something bordering on good. Since that rather poor introduction to nachos, Wise has moved to greener pastures, Mexico to be exact, and his understanding of the potential of the nacho has increased. Thank you Wise, you earn the distinction of being the first contributor to READER RECIPES.

As a nacho lover I have come a long way in terms of standards and quality and it is a great honor to pen a guest post on this wonderful blog (can’t help but feel it would make a great book – I’d publish you lads!). I currently live in Mexico but I come from a land that is horribly short of good nachos, that land being England. In fact, I believe it was my recipe that informed the “British Nachos” post (Doritos, grated cheese, microwave, disgusting). Now, I no longer work at Harrods, but I do love nachos and since those heady, stomach turning days I have sought an education in the fine art of nacho preparation. I have broadened my horizons, sampling far and wide, a young Mexican chef took me under his wing and I’ve even supped on a fine plate concocted by one of the authors…and now I am finally ready to go it alone. I can now make a quite delicious plate of nachos.

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Scratching the Surface…

On the surface nacho recipes are a touch absurd. The basics of the dish are so, well, basic. There is an essential nacho-ness (sorry, Gritz loves You, Me and Dupree) that must be achieved through the combination of chips and cheese. And yet, while the nessesary ingredients are clear, the possibilities are endless.

Through our global travels we have encountered a wide array of nachos. Some have been revolting (thanks Harrods), others surprising (thanks Cambodia) and some absolutely remarkable (thanks Corky’s BBQ). In each case we have learned a new lesson, and new potentials of flavor arrangement.

Recently, Gritz asked me to work on a series of recipes for gradspot that would explore the potential and range of nachos. I took inspiration from some of our finer experiences and also chose to play on memories associated with nachos. For the latter reason, one recipe pokes fun at the English, and their ineptitude, while another pays homage to the stadium nacho. Covered in that bright, zesty cheese sauce, the stadium variety is the most ubiquitous of all nachos. Often the point of entry (its almost a gateway drug) the stadium nacho either sparks a new passion or disappoints.

In some cases, the initial meeting of cheese sauce and stale chips unfairly casts a stigma on cheese sauce nachos. On the contrary, a sauce can infuse so much dimesnion and flavor, not to mention allow for maximum chip coverage. A recent trip to Memphis reintroduced me to cheese sauces, a spicy version adding amazing dimension to the pulled pork nachos that are the cities speiciality. In an effort to capture that excitment in an easy at home fashion I incorporated a cheaters method with the cheese sauce I developed for our NCAA tournament special.

Nachos can become as fancy as one desires, and still a plate of perfect bubbling cheese and slight browning to the corners of the chips is hard to beat. Two of these recipes are classic. Beans and chorizo, always a great combo, and my memories from the Great Dane Pub in Madison, WI. These are good without accompaniment, and great with that perfect trio of cool topics — salsa, sour cream and guac.

As a whole, this collection of recipes only scratches the surface of the types and the ideas that NACHOS really embody. They are not very good recipes. Just a starting point in our home experiments.

Nachos with Chorizo

Stadium Style Nachos

BBQ Chicken Nachos
Pub Nachos