People from places with a lot of authentic Mexican food are typically jerks about Mexican food. Like people from L.A. are always like “There’s no good Mexican food in New York.” Read online reviews of any Mexican place in the city and invariably someone is all, “I’m from Arizona, and I can say this is the best Mexican place in New York, in that you can almost choke down one of their tacos without immediately retching.” Once this girl from Texas refused to recommend a single Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC. It’s totally bizarre. Nobody would ever say there can’t be a good French restaurant in a town just because there aren’t a lot of French people in the area.
So one of my goals for 2011 is to de-mystify Mexican food. And nachos are the perfect place to start. There’s no authenticity to worry about with nachos because they were invented in Mexico by someone named Nacho for American tourists, using the ingredients he had handy (chips, cheese, and pickled jalapenos). We made these nachos last weekend for football-watching purposes and recommend that you do the same. I happen to really like them with pintos, cheese, avocado, onions, salsa, olives, pickled jalapenos and sour cream, but in the spirit of Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, you should use what you have on hand- beef, chicken, black beans, guacamole, pineapple, whatevs.
9 oz. bag of tortilla chips
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can whole pinto beans, rinsed, or refried beans
canned black olives, sliced
pickled jalapeno slices
1/4 cup minced red onion
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the beans in a small saucepan. In an oven proof dish, lay out a layer of chips. Sprinkle a layer of cheese, add a few tablespoons of beans, a few black olives, and some jalapenos. Continue layering until your nachos are built. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. You want the cheese on top to be quite melty and bubbly, and you may want to check that the interior cheese has melted.
Scoop servings of nachos into individual bowls and add salsa, avocado, and sour cream. Feel free to also add extra olives or jalapenos.