Chef Tom – Nacho Typical Nachos

Nachos – A Primer:
Nachos were born in 1940 when, as the story goes, a group of women walked into the Victory Club in Piedras outside business hours. But Ignacio Anaya, the maître d’hôtel, had no cooks in the kitchen. Anaya was known as Nacho, the traditional nickname for anyone named Ignacio in Spanish-speaking countries.


The wives of Americans stationed at a military base in Eagle Pass, Texas, the women had crossed the Rio Grande to shop and were looking for a drink and a bite. Aiming to please, Anaya ran to the kitchen and made a quick appetizer with ingredients he found. He topped totopos, fried corn tortilla chips, with Colby cheese and slices of pickled jalapeños, and threw them in the oven.

The women loved it so much they asked for seconds, and jokingly ended up calling them Nacho’s special. The dish became an essential part of the Victory Club menu, and a fixture on others in the region. Eventually, Anaya moved to Eagle Pass and opened a restaurant called Nacho’s.

Tex-Mex restaurants made nachos an essential part of the menu, baptizing the chips with all of the fixings their customers had come to expect: cooked ground meat, sour cream, table salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and pickled jalapeños. With more versions came more layers, as carne asada, black olives, shredded cheddar cheese, beans and corn were added to the dish.

It was Frank Liberto, a businessman from Texas, who took nachos to the masses in the 1970s. Two inventions made this possible: an emulsified cheese sauce that requires no refrigeration, has an extended shelf life and stays melted without heat, and a pump for the cheese so the nachos could be assembled as fast as people could order them.

Liberto introduced ballpark nachos in 1976 at a Texas Rangers baseball game, then in 1977 at a Dallas Cowboys football game. From there, they appeared at stadiums and movie theaters throughout the United States, and then one country after another.

K. Kenji López-Alt

Some seriously delicious versions of Nachos from a seriously talented chef: Serious Eats

O.G. Nachos

O.G. Nachos (the original)
6 to 8 servings

Total time: 10 minutes

1 pound store-bought tortilla chips (Costco Kirkland brand is an excellent choice)
1 pound shredded Colby cheese (about 4 packed cups – Colby is basically a mix of Monterey Jack and cheddar, so half n’ half would work just as well)
1 cup thinly sliced store-bought pickled jalapeños, plus 2 to 4 tablespoons brine

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat to 400 degrees.

Spread the tortilla chips in a single layer on two large sheet pans. Place a scant tablespoon of shredded cheese over each chip, pressing slightly to adhere. Top each chip with 1 or 2 slices pickled jalapeño. Sprinkle or spoon the pickled jalapeño brine all over the chips. Bake until cheese melts completely and begins to lightly brown at the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve nachos immediately, directly on the hot baking sheets, or use a spatula to transfer them to a platter.

Chicken Nachos

Chicken Nachos
Serves 6

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 tbsp. taco seasoning

2 tbsp. chili powder

1/4 c. olive oil

Salt, as needed

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce (8 ounces)

2 cups chicken stock

Several dashes hot sauce

Good tortilla chips

Cheddar and Jack cheese, freshly grated

Optional: pico de gallo, sour cream, sliced black olives, sliced green onions, cilantro leaves, guacamole, etc.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with the taco seasoning and chili powder. Rub in the seasonings as much as you can.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken breasts on both sides until deep golden and totally done in the middle, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and let rest for a few minutes.

In the same skillet, whisk in the tomato sauce, chicken stock, and several dashes of hot sauce and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm. Taste and adjust seasonings (you may need to add a little salt, depending on the taco seasoning you use).

Shred the chicken using two forks, then transfer the shredded chicken to the sauce. Toss to coat it in the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more hot water and allow to simmer for a few minutes.

To build the nachos, layer the chips, cheese, and shredded chicken on a dish in several layers, ending with a small layer on top. Microwave the dish (or place it in a 350 degree oven if ovenproof) until the cheese is totally melted.

Serve as is or add whatever extras you’d like! Dive into it immediately.

Bricklayer Nachos

From the NY Times – Bricklayer-style beef, or puntas al albañil, made with tender pieces of beef, salty bacon and sometimes chorizo in a chunky fire-roasted salsa, is a beloved taco filling in Mexico. Once a common snack available near construction sites in central Mexico, it became popular beyond street food stands, expanding into homes and restaurants over the years. Here it’s used as the foundation for nachos, topped with mounds of melted cheese, tangy queso fresco, creamy avocado and crunchy scallions for a hearty, delicious meal.

Bricklayer Nachos

Serves 6

2 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes

8 ounces thick-cut bacon, thinly sliced

8 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo, casing removed, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin, excess fat removed, meat cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Kosher or sea salt and black pepper

1 medium white onion, halved and slivered (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 jalapeño or serrano chile, halved, deseeded if desired, and sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 pound store-bought Tortilla Chips

12 ounces shredded Mexican melty cheese, like Oaxaca, Asadero or quesadilla, or half n’ half Monterey Jack and sharp chaddar (3 cups)

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and finely chopped

1 cup crumbled queso fresco

8 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

If using fresh tomatoes, place them on a small baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Place them under the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through, until charred, mushy and juices have begun to run. Remove from heat. Once cool enough to handle, chop them without discarding any of the juices, seeds or charred skin.

Heat a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it browns slightly and renders some of its fat, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the chorizo to the bacon, and cook, breaking the sausage into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon as it begins to brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring a couple times, until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Incorporate the onion and jalapeño and cook until they begin to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant but not browned, less than 1 minute.

Stir in the fresh or canned chopped tomatoes with their juices and cook over high, stirring occasionally, until saucy, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Set the rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Place all the tortilla chips in a half sheet pan or large baking sheet in an even layer. Cover the chips with the bricklayer meat mixture and all of its chunky salsa. Cover with the shredded cheese. Bake until cheese has completely melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Garnish with the avocado, crumbled queso fresco and scallions. Dig in while hot!


Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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