Few annual events in the UK even touch the might of the championship game of the National Football League in the US, more commonly known as the American tradition of Super Bowl Sunday.
The game usually takes place on the first Sunday in February, and is American’s biggest television event of the year in terms of viewership, sports or otherwise. Consequently, it has also become known for the truly staggering quantities of food consumed across the continent over the course of the day – 60% of which is accounted for by takeout pizza (seriously, with the volume of orders it would be easier just make your own easy Chicago-style pizza on the day), but also includes an inconceivable 1.23 billion chicken wings and a comparatively modest 8 million tonnes of guacamole. In fact, the only day on which more food is consumed across the States is Thanksgiving, which gives some idea of the scale of the event.
One of the most popular dishes shared by Super Bowl Sunday viewers are nachos, the beloved Mexican dish of tortilla chips topped by melted cheese and jalapeño peppers, and usually these days also laden with sour cream and guacamole.
As with every dish of this fairly blank-canvas ilk, there are plenty of variations. It’s very common to include refried black beans, and, for a full-blown version, ladlefuls of hot-as-hell chilli. More outrageous variations include toppings of indulgent shredded seafood, like crab or lobster, or a rich and succulent pulled pork or brisket chilli.
This fairly traditional, basic version of nachos may seem like a simple thing to construct, but there’s an art to it. Below are a few simple but effective tips, which can take basic homemade nachos from being a messy mush into the best sharing dish you’ve ever rolled out.
First off, the chips themselves; it’s common practice to simply buy bags of heavily salted corn chips, but a more flavoursome and hardier chip can be produced simply by cutting corn tortillas into eighths, arranging them in a single layer, and baking in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until brown and crispy. It’s honestly worth the extra effort for chips that don’t just dissolve under the toppings.
Speaking of toppings, don’t bother buying guacamole for your nachos (or anything, ever) – just make your own from two ripe avocados, half a bunch of fresh coriander, a quarter of a red onion, a fresh red chilli, a few cherry tomatoes, and a lime. Smash the avocados with a fork, then finely chop the other veg and fold into the avocado. Squeeze in the juice of a lime and seasoning (to taste), and mix well before finishing with a drizzle of olive oil.
The same goes for the salsa; finely chop a handful of cherry tomatoes, a red pepper, a fresh red chilli, and mix in a splash of red wine vinegar before seasoning to taste. Perfect.
For the refried beans, simply drain a can of black beans and fry in a little oil on a high heat for a few minutes until piping hot. Bash up with the back of a spoon and set aside.
Once all this is ready, and you’ve opened a pot of sour cream, arrange your nachos in a high-sided oven-proof dish, and sprinkle over a few generous handfuls of grated cheese. Place under the grill until golden and bubbling, then finish with generous dollops of your beautiful toppings – either all mixed up and on top of each other, or in mounds as shown below, which makes for easy dipping.
Should you wish to go one step further, go for this gorgeous veggie chilli recipe. Although it may be tempting to indulge in a meaty one, the generous quantities of beans and pulses in this recipe, when layered in amongst the melted cheese and crunchy tortillas, make for a fantastic mouthful. This is also, by the by, a great way to use up leftover chillis or stews.
So, whether or not you’re settling down for the Super Bowl this Sunday, that’s how to make what we reckon are the perfect nachos – let us know how you do yours!