Sunday, May 22, 2011

chicken nachos with cilantro corn salsa and guacamole

Alright, I know you can't really write a recipe for nachos.  That's not my intention here. Nobody measures anything when they make nachos, they grate and dump with abandon (and as they should). There's nothing even particularly special about these nachos, except for the fact that they are damn tasty. And anyone who has ever been to a bar or a pub knows that nachos being tasty is not a given.

I just wanted to share these nachos with you because someone shared them with me, sort of. I remember the evening well. Leigh Anne and I were obsessed with LOST, and sometimes I went over to her apartment to watch the weekly episodes which, at that time, were still nail-bitingly and mind-bendingly good. These nachos happened on one of the most intense LOST evenings to date, culminating in Kate and Sawyer finally (finally!) getting it on in the polar bear cage. I don't remember exactly what she put on them (nachos are pretty flexible - one of their excellent qualities), but I do remember that there was chicken involved and from that point on, chicken nachos became a staple at my social gatherings. Especially the LOST parties. <-- dork

So... like I said, this is not really a recipe for nachos, per se. Perhaps just a few tips, as well as recipes for the salsa and guacamole I made. I guess it's sort of a "how to" without trying to adhere to measurements, because you and I both know that a baking sheet full of nachos is a free spirit and shouldn't be constrained by numbers (especially if those numbers are 4 8 15 16 23 and 42).

chicken nachos

tons of chips
tons of cheese
1 cooked chicken breast, cut into small, fondue size pieces

Getting down to business, how do I make chicken nachos?  Easy really.  Preheat your oven to 400ºF, then make your salsa and guacamole.

cilantro corn salsa
1 cup corn niblets, fresh or frozen, browned in a pan
1/2 cup finely diced fresh tomato (seeded, if you are not lazy like me)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
salt to taste, optional

I like to keep the guacamole fairly simple here because there is so much chunkiness happening with the salsa.

1 ripe avocado, mashed
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 a jalapeno pepper, minced
salt to taste


Barely deserves its own header. Cut your chicken breast into fondue size pieces (i.e. small!) and fry in a pan with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep it on the heat only until just cooked, as it will still be going in the oven and you don't want to dry it out.

Now that everything is ready to be assembled, layer your good quality chips - Que Pasa if you can find them - and your cheese onto a foil lined baking sheet.* Make sure you have at least two layers of chips and cheese. Now put your chicken on the top layer, then sprinkle a little bit more cheese so that everything gets very gooey. Then it is time for the salsa layer. Resist the urge to put the salsa anywhere but the top layer, unless you like soggy nachos (yes, I did this once. Oops!). Once the salsa is on there, your nachos are ready to go in the oven! They should take about 10-15 minutes - make sure that the middle cheese layers are melted before taking the nachos out.

Enjoy with your guacamole and sour cream.

Then go for a run.

*I forgot to do this tonight and I am feeling equal parts relieved and guilty that Adam is Lord of the Dishes for the evening!

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