I love nachos. Who doesn't? Crispy, cheesy, gooey, meaty. The ultimate game day treat. It's a pretty simple concept - put meat, cheese and various toppings on top of tortillas chips and bake until warm and melty. And yet, somehow, restaurants frequently mess this up.
The worst is when they come out as a giant mountain of tortilla chips with every last bit of cheese and meat just tossed on top. Why do restaurants do this?? What am I supposed to do with this huge pile of lonely, plain tortilla chips?? Layer it, people! LAYER IT!
The other offense is barely melted or congealed cheese. I want a cheese that is smooth and flowing and doesn't set up within 3 minutes of coming out of the oven. The answer to this problem is to use an exceptional melting cheese. Monterey Jack is one of my favorites. In addition to that I like to make a homemade cheese sauce which adds another element of cheesiness and texture. Sure, you could use jarred nacho cheese sauce, but the flavor of homemade is far superior and you don't get all the nasty additives!
If you're serving these to a crowd for a game day get together you can keep them warm and the cheese melty by placing the platter on a small heating pad. So, go forth this Sunday and make delicious nachos for your friends and family while you watch the NFL Championships! I think you can tell where my allegiance lies....
GO BIG BLUE!!!!!
Cheesy, Beefy Nachos
For the nacho meat
1 lb ground beef
1 package sloppy joe seasoning (or use your own mix)
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 1/2 cup water
For the cheese sauce
8 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce
1 1 lb bag unsalted, restaurant style corn tortilla chips
2 cups monterey jack, shredded
1 can black bean, drained and rinsed
2-4 fresh jalapenos and/or red fresno chiles, finely chopped (ribs and seeds removed if you prefer)
chopped seeded tomatoes
1. For the meat: Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Drain the fat. Stir in the seasoning mix, tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside while you make the cheese sauce.
2. For the cheese sauce: Toss the shredded cheese with the corn starch and then transfer it to a medium pot. Add the evaporated milk, paprika, hot sauce and salt. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until completely melted, bubbly and thickened, about 5 minutes. If you'd like to thin it out, add a bit of milk. Keep warm over very low heat while you prepare the nachos.