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Comfort food on the go – Nachos covered in grilled cheese

May 14, 2010

Most of my favourite comfort food recipes consist of things being in the oven for long periods of time, or melting butter, or beating butter with sugar after getting the butter softened… In any case, they’re partly comforting because I can finally just sit down and eat after much exertion in the kitchen or after drooling over the smells wafting from the oven. Nachos, however, are easy. Also, they are covered in grilled cheese. Lots. Of cheese.

Every Friday I join a group of my friends to watch whatever is on prime time that week (well…we don’t so much watch as jeer while stuffing cheese-laden snacks into our mouths), and we’ve had these nachos multiple times now, I’ve just never gotten around to making them at home. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I had these. I’ve had mince nachos before (pretty much every week in high school), and these really do beat those by a long way. In cafes, I’ve had vegetarian nachos of various forms. Again, these come out the winner. Plus they don’t involve leaving the house. You can get as messy as you like.

By the way, these are infinitely easier with a food processor, otherwise it does take some chopping. I recommend chopping the onions by hand though because processing them releases a bit too much water and you get more of an onion paste, not that there’s much wrong with this.

Nom nom nachos

feeds 3  for just dinner or 4 for dinner prior to a hefty dessert

Chop the following finely:

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red pepper

Have on hand:

  • 1 x 400g(ish) can chilli beans or red kidney beans
  • 1 x 400g(ish) can chopped tomatoes or equivalent in fresh low-acid chopped tomato
  • 1/2 c packed grated cheese*
  • 20g butter or 3-4 Tbs oil
  • optional: sour cream, avocado/guacamole
  • 1 x 350g(ish) bag corn chips (I like Mexicano Natural)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: paprika, chilli or cayenne powder, cumin

*Colby is best for melting in my opinion, but edam is ok too. Add a little sprinkle of grated tasty cheese or parmesan or vintage cheddar, and you’ll be in heeeaaaven.

Melt butter/heat oil in a medium sized saucepan or large frypan. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring, until they start to turn golden. Add carrots and red pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened. Add tomatoes and beans with paprika, cayenne and cumin if using, and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking. If using flavoured chips, use half as much salt as you normally would, or the whole thing will be too salty. Let simmer while grill is heating up, and continue simmering after that if you want the mixture thicker.

Heat grill/broiler to 200C (400F), arranging a rack at the top. Arrange all the corn chips in a roasting dish or arrange so the chips stand vertically in bowls, like this:

Once the grill is hot, pour nacho mixture over the chips on an even layer, leaving some at the edge uncovered. Immediately sprinkle over cheese and put under the grill/broiler, for about 3-4 minutes until the cheese is grilled to your liking. Serve with sour cream and guacamole if you like.

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