The Nacho: An Ignacio By Any Other Name

The story is simple.

One day, in 1943, in the border town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, in a restaurant fortuitously placed near the border crossing, a group of American Army wives came in for cold beers and a greasy snack.

Don Ignacio  Anaya (nicknamed ‘Nacho’ as Ignacios tend to be), the manager at this restaurant, Club Victoria, threw together fried up tortilla wedges, Wisconsin cheese and pickled jalapeño rounds, and warmed them in the oven.

As the cliché says, the rest is history.

Fast forward 74 years, and let me hope for a moment we are capable of building a better nacho.

A Better Nacho

  • Corn chips
  • Leftover beef in chile colorado
  • Beans, sautéed onions, whatever you have or want
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • Radishes, sliced thinly and cut into matchsticks
  • Avocado, diced
  • Crema Mexicana
  • Cilantro, picked from stems

Hopefully, you have some leftover beef in chile colorado left lying about. You should. No? Get a cheap cut of meat, braise it till tender, clean a handful of chile colorados, simmer them till soft with a few cloves of garlic and a white onion. Puree the whole thing, add salt, Mexican oregano, dry thyme, and there you go. Add it to your beef.

Too much work? Get a rotisserie chicken and a couple of cans of your favorite Herdez sauce. Get the meat off the bones. Warm the sauce and chicken together.

Get some fancy corn chips. Not the scoops kind. Not the hint of lime kind. Not the kind with flax seeds or anything else. Fancy. Organic. Go crazy and get the blue ones. Spread them out on a large oven safe dish.

You’re going for surface area here, not height. You’re making a beautiful rolling edible landscape, not an avalanche of toppings over a dry flavorless Everest of chips.

Top liberally with the warm meat and sauce of your choice. Follow with cooked beans, sautéed onions, anything you may want to make a dish that is more than chips, meat and cheese. Top with cheese.

Turn on oven to a low broiler setting, placing a rack approximately 2/3 of the way up. Place the nachos in an oven until the cheese is warmed and slightly melted.

Top evenly with radish matchsticks, diced avocado, dollops of creama Mexicana, and cilantro.

Eat paired with cold beer.

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