Nachos are a great, informal way to feed a crowd. I enjoy making them for a big game or for dinner on a family movie night. When preparing the taco meat, I prefer to use the recipe for beef tacos from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook—it’s fantastic and so flavorful that if you substituted ground chicken or turkey for the beef, your family and guests would be none the wiser. Also, if I have the time, I like to make my own re-fried beans. My favorite recipe comes from 100 Days of Real Food, by Lisa Leake—you’d be shocked how easy it is to make. Finally, if we have avocados on hand, I like to make guacamole and dollop it on top along with the sour cream. Provide lots of napkins when serving these nachos, as consumption can get messy.
1 lb taco meat recipe (see note)
1 (11 oz) bag corn tortilla chips
8 oz sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 (15 oz) can re-fried beans
Pickled jalapeños, to taste
Pickled banana peppers, to taste
Salsa, to taste
Sour cream, to taste
Other optional toppings: guacamole, sliced black olives, dice tomatoes, chopped white onions, chopped scallions
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place half of the tortilla chips in an even layer on an oven-safe platter or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spoon a layer of half the taco meat over the chips. Distribute half of the re-fried beans in dollops on top of the meat and chips. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the nachos. Finally, place the desired amount of pickled peppers evenly on top.
3. Repeat step 2 with the remaining chips, meat, beans, cheese and peppers.
4. Place the platter or baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
5. Remove the nachos from the oven, spoon salsa over the nachos and add dollops of sour cream. Serve immediately.