A more elaborate version of Ignacio Anaya’s 1940 creation, this easy nachos has beef cooked with chipotle, chopped tomatoes and onions, cheese sauce and pickled jalapeños.
Yes, it’s simpler than most nachos you’ll find on the web. The simplicity is intentional. While most people think of nachos in terms of “the more, the merrier” kind of dish, I find that it is the quality of the components rather than quantity of the ingredients that matter.
And when I say “quality of the components”, I mean really flavorful fatty beef browned to perfection and cheese sauce cooked with real roux and the best quality Colby cheese. That means heated Cheez Whiz or anything that comes out of a jar won’t do.
Spicy beef nachos with cheese sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup shredded Colby cheese
- salt - to taste
- 350 grams ground beef - with at least 20 per cent fat
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 generous pinch sugar
- lime juice
To complete the dish
- 6 to 8 cups corn tortilla chips
- ⅓ cup pickled jalapeños - roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 plump tomatoes - roughly chopped (seeds discarded)
- 1 large onion - peeled and roughly chopped
Make the cheese sauce
- In a sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux.
- Cook the roux for about two minutes then drizzle in the milk while stirring.
- Cook until the mixture is thickened then turn off the heat.
- Stir in the shredded cheese until melted.
- Taste and add salt, if needed.
- Keep the cheese sauce warm.
Cook the spicy beef
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a heavy skillet, spread the ground beef and cook without disturbing until the undersides are starting to brown.
- Stir the beef to break up clumps, add the garlic, chipotle powder, half a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of sugar, and continue cooking until fat has been rendered and the meat is well browned.
- Squeeze in lime juice (start with a teaspoonful), taste and add more salt and lime juice, if needed, to get a good flavor balance.
Finish the dish
- Spread the corn tortilla chips on a baking tray and pop into the oven for five to seven minutes.
- Take the tortilla chips out of the oven and spread a third on a plate or shallow bowl.
- Drop in dollops of cheese sauce using a teaspoon.
- Sprinkle in a third of the beef, a third of the tomatoes, a third of the onion and a third of the jalapeños.
- Repeat the layering until all the ingredients are on the plate (you may have excess cheese sauce though but you can keep that in the fridge for a couple of days).
- Serve your spicy beef nachos with cheese sauce immediately.