Texas Nachos are your perfect Super Bowl snack! Each chip has just the right amount of cheesy, spicy crunch.
CLICK HERE TO JUMP STRAIGHT TO THE RECIPE
So Christmas may have come and gone, and the New Year’s celebrations are complete, but that doesn’t mean the holidays are over! You know what’s next on the calendar? Super Bowl parties! Oh yes, that perfect excuse to gather with friends for snacks and drinks…and maybe a little bit of game-watching.
This year we have an extra reason to pay attention to Super Bowl festivities: the big game will be taking place in our little old city of Houston, Texas. I’ll be honest, we’re not even going to try to get tickets, and in fact, we don’t plan to leave our house that entire weekend. Houston previously hosted the Super Bowl back when we were young and in college, and at that time of our lives, it was fun to go downtown and hang out with thousands of our closest friends in what was basically Mardis Gras. But now? Mehhhhhh I think I’ll just cozy up with a much smaller group of people and a few homemade snacks…like these Texas Nachos.
Now what makes these “Texas” Nachos, you ask? Instead of just regular old nachos? Lisa Fain of Homesick Texan has a fascinating story about the birth of the true Texas nacho, which was later poorly translated into a pile of chips with some gloppy cheese sauce. The key is that Texas Nachos are individually arranged bites of heaven, using limited but well-balanced ingredients. There’s no fighting your neighbor for the chip with all the toppings, or sighing when you pick up that inevitably naked chip at the bottom. No, Texas Nachos are equitable and peace-loving. Everyone gets the same toppings!
And those toppings are delicious. But first, you have to start with a good foundation. Here, it starts with homemade tortilla chips. Yes, it’s slightly more work than ripping open a bag of chips. Yes, it’s totally worth it. And really, making tortilla chips is pretty darn simple. All you do is cut corn tortillas into quarters, then fry them for a couple minutes in glug of vegetable oil. This isn’t deep-frying, so you don’t need any fancy equipment. I use my trusty cast iron skillet, but any skillet should work just fine, or even a dutch oven. Fry the tortillas until they crisp up, rest them on some paper towels, and sprinkle with salt. The result? A truly crisp and sturdy chip, ready to take on some hearty toppings. (If you’re really short on time, go ahead and use store bought chips…but ONLY if you promise me you’ll try making your own next time! 😉)
Lay out the chips on a sheet pan without overlapping. After that, toppings are simple. Start with a smear of refried beans on each chip – just enough for some savory flavor. Then move on to the cheese. Ah yes, the cheese! Pile it on each chip as best you can. Some cheese will end up on the sheet pan, of course, but try to keep most of it on the chips for maximum deliciousness. Cheddar is the classic choice, but you could sub in Monterrey Jack if you prefer. Finally, add a pickled jalapeno on top of each chip. They’re just a little spicy without overwhelming the nachos.
Now, just pop it all in the oven for a couple minutes – just long enough to melt the cheese. Don’t walk away! Your nachos may go from not-quite-ready to too-dark in less than a minute. I suggest checking on them every 30 seconds or so to avoid that disaster.
And you know what else takes less than a minute? Devouring about a dozen of these Texas Nachos. I like to serve them with some guacamole and salsa for dipping, but it’s not strictly necessary. The beauty of these nachos is that each bite is balanced, cheesy, and perfect on its own. It’s tempting to keep adding more toppings, but try to restrain yourself. They don’t need chili, or buffalo chicken, or whatever else your local dive bar might pile on top. Sure, those nachos have their place in the world, but you owe it to yourself to give the original Texas Nachos a try. And there’s no time like a Texas Super Bowl to break out this classic.
Go team? More like go snacks!
- 8 corn tortillas
- ½ cup to 1 cup canola oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- ½ cup refried beans
- 2½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 32 pickled jalapenos
- Cut the tortillas into quarters.
- Pour the oil into a skillet, preferably cast iron - enough for a fairly thick layer on the bottom of the pan, but no more than a quarter inch deep. Heat on medium low until very hot, but not smoking.
- Add the tortilla pieces in batches. Do not overlap them in the pan. Cook until the bottoms start to brown and the edges begin to crisp. Flip and continue cooking until the other side has also browned slightly. Don't let them get too dark.
- Remove from the pan with tongs and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Dab with a towel if you see some lingering oil on the tops of the chips. Sprinkle immediately with kosher salt.
- Repeat until all the tortillas are cooked.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Spread chips in a single layer on a sheet pan or jelly roll pan.
- On each chip, spread a bit of refried beans - a little more than a half teaspoon per chip.
- Top each chip with a small pile of cheese. Try to keep the cheese on the chips, but don't stress if some ends up on the pan.
- Finish with a pickled jalapeno on top of each chip.
- Bake for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted. Keep a close eye on them to avoid burning.
- Serve immediately, with guacamole and salsa on the side.
Need a good gauc recipe? Try adding our Zesty Guacamole to the menu!
And don’t forget a Grapefruit Margarita to wash everything down. Ahhhhh….