Nachos are a very special dinner. They’re cheap and easy to make, and the kids can get involved in assembling it because each chip has to stand up and stand close: you need to fit in as many chips as possible. And he (or she) who assembles the nachos gets to eat all the broken crumbs of chips.
We’ve probably got far less cheese than most people would expect, and certainly less than we used to, but then the sauce has probably become tastier over the years as we’ve subconsciously compensated. And I leave the cheese off my share altogether. You don’t need it if you pack enough flavour into the sauce.
The last time we made this, I was on sauce duty for the first time in a while. How much Tabasco sauce do you normally put in? I asked. No answer. I called out again. Still no reply. Oh well, a tablespoon it is then. It came out really tasty.
The only person who found it a bit much was the one who didn’t tell me how much to add when I asked. He usually puts in a couple of shakes of the sauce bottle!
This one is going with me to Fiesta Friday, with Angie and her co-hosts Elaine@Foodbod and Julianna@ Foodie On Board. Don’t worry about the spicy Tabasco sauce, though. I’ve made it in little individual ramekins so you can choose spicy (left) or not (right). There’s even some without cheese for the vegans (which is how I prefer it anyway).
Nachos for dinner
- 1 cup of dried red kidney beans
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
- a large tin of chopped tomatoes
- Tabasco sauce
- 1 large capsicum
- a green vegetable, sneakily chopped into tiny little unidentifiable bits (see notes)
- corn chips
- parmesan and mozarella cheese (to taste)
- Before you start: soak the kidney beans (preferably overnight), then boil them for about an hour until they’re soft but not mushy.
- Finely dice the onions and garlic, then saute them with the cumin, salt and coriander until they are soft and translucent.
- Drain the beans and rinse them through with water.
- Tip the cooked and drained beans into the onion mix. Add the tomatoes, capsicum, Tabasco sauce, and the sneaky green vegetable and cook for about 20 or 30 minutes, until the green vegetable becomes inseparable from the sauce.
- To assemble the nachos: spread the still-warm sauce over the bottom of a large dish, then top with chips. We like to stand the chips up so we can fit more in, but that’s part of the game. Sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese then the mozzarella.
- Bake in a 180 degree C (350 F) oven for about 10 or 15 minutes: just long enough for the cheese to melt over the chips.
The green vegetable was introduced to help a certain child eat vegetables without complaining. The choice of vegetable depends on what we have in the fridge or growing in the garden, but bok choy and zucchini both work well because they collapse into their sauce and absorb its flavours.
You can use minced meat instead of beans if you want. You can also make the dish without any protein if you wanted a quick afternoon snack. And you can, of course, use a large tin of beans if you don’t want to bother with the soaking and boiling bit.
We used to use cheddar cheese for this, and more of it, but the combination of parmesan and mozzarella give the same amount of flavour without the oily cheese residue.
Vegans: Leave off the cheese. It’s how I prefer my nachos these days. You could add vegan cheese if you want, but I don’t think you need it if you pack the flavours into the sauce.
Source: Mollie Katzen and her Moosewood Cookbook gave us a starting point, but I’m not sure the dish we call nachos looks anything like her original.