On our last night at Arcadia Retreat in Rarotonga our friend Neil made this delicious and nifty version of nachos and chilli.
As we know Nachos are usually multi-layers of tortilla chips with cheese and a variety of toppings often including versions of chilli con carne or meatballs. Inevitably the chips go soggy in parts, but with Neil’s Nifty Nachos, there is no danger of that!
The nifty trick is simply serve the cheesy tortillas baked in the oven separately to the chilli, sour cream and guacamole!
His recipe for the chilli con carne is also delicious, imbued with spices such as cinnamon and cloves!
Tips for great nachos
In exploring tips for great nachos I found these two articles which focus on the more traditional multi-layered versions.
This story from the Cape Cod Times suggests using the cheese as a buffer zone to protect the crispiness of the chips. (This story also has some interesting suggestions about the creation and naming of nachos.)
And Bon Appetit lays out 10 rules for making nachos.
But neither suggest Neil’s Nifty Nachos version of simply separating the chips and sauce and completely avoiding any chance of soggy chips in the first place!
So here’s how he does it.
Neil’s Nifty Nachos and Chilli Recipe
Make the chilli first, but don’t forget to get the ingredients for the nachos and sides when you go shopping!
- 250g beef mince
- 250g pork mince
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 can kidney beans (do not drain, it will go in with the brine!)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 6 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder
- 4-5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 3-4 fresh red chillies finely chopped (deseed if you prefer)
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander chopped
- 1 green capsicum diced
- 1 fresh tomato diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a large heavy based pot or pan with a lid, and add cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds and bay leaf ..heat until fragrant.
2. Add pork and beef mince, garlic, onion, chopped chilli and chilli powder.
3. Turn up heat frying and breaking up mince continuously with a spoon for about 5 minutes until well coloured and onions are translucent. It’s important to dry fry the mince rather than allow it to stew.
4. Add tinned tomato, tomato paste and can of kidney beans with brine and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes or so to allow mince to absorb flavours, adding 1 cup water if mixture is sticking.
5. Add green capsicum, half the fresh coriander and fresh tomato and cook for another 15 minutes until sauce is reduced and capsicum is just cooked.
6. Add the rest of the fresh chopped coriander and mix through.
7. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, pickled jalapeños and guacamole on the side.
- 1 bag of tortilla chips
- 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese (as chunky grate as you can)
- 1 cup grated mozzarella
- Baking paper
1. Turn on your grill to high heat and line baking pan with baking paper.
2. Alternately layer tortilla chips generously sprinkling the two types of cheese between them, saving enough for a thick layer of cheese on top.
3. Grill chips until cheese is melted and chips are crispy. Serve immediately on the side with Neil’s chilli, sour cream, pickled jalapeños and sour cream on the side.
Serving Neil’s Nifty Nachos and Chilli
Lift the cheesy tortilla chips with the baking paper onto a platter or just place baking pan (on a placemat) on the table with chilli con carne and sides such as sour cream, guacamole and pickled jalapeños to the side.
Guests serve themselves, layering the chips with the chilli and sides to their taste, but you can be guaranteed that the chips stay crispy and the chilli is delicious!