Ultimate Chicken Nachos
Ultimate Chicken Nachos. What makes something ‘ultimate’ is subjective. Tyler Florence calls his best recipes ‘Ultimate’. I would agree. I checked, but couldn’t find any sort of TF Ultimate Chicken Nachos recipe. Maybe nachos just aren’t Tyler’s thing. Nachos are my thing, though. I could eat Mexican food a few times a week if I didn’t think hubby would abandon ship. When I’m in a restaurant with a group ~ and by group, two or more will do ~ and nachos are on the menu, I’m ordering one. They’re great to split. As I’m eating them, I secretly ~ or maybe not so secretly~ grade them based upon taste and the nacho’s components and whether it covered all the required bases. I’ve had this thing for nachos for a long, long time ~ going back to my single girl Taco Bell diet days. I started on beef nachos, then a few years ago I got hooked on Chicken Nachos and I haven’t looked back.
Nachos should contain more than chips and cheese. Otherwise, they’re just. . .chips and cheese ~ like the ones at sporting events that come in a plastic container with three wells: one for the chips, one for the “cheese” (I’m using that term loosely) and the last for salsa. They toss a few jalapeno slices on top that always manage to moisten the chips. Not inedible but not my idea of the Ultimate Chicken Nachos.
I was at a neighborhood restaurant recently with some friends and found their chicken nachos didn’t contain any beans ~ gasp! A nacho without beans is not a nacho.
As you’re assembling nachos, they grow. So keep that in mind. I always end up with more than we can eat, but on the plus side, they reheat well for lunch the next day. When my husband sees the nacho pile, he repeats his standard lines:
- Who else is coming for dinner?
- Are you trying to kill me?
For the record, the answer is no one (usually) and no (always).
Personally, for me the Ultimate Chicken Nachos, must have these ingredients:
- tortilla chips
- seasoned shredded chicken
- refried black beans
- cheese! LOTS of it ~ smoked gouda, monterey jack and sharp cheddar make the perfect blend
- jalapeno peppers
- banana peppers
- guacamole OR sliced avocados
- sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt
- fresh cilantro
- salsa (more on this later)
I unofficially polled readers on Facebook recently to find out what makes the Ultimate Chicken Nacho in their opinion. They agreed on jalapeno peppers and avocado. Another mentioned Smoked Gouda cheese. Smoked Gouda? Hmmm. . .that was a new one for me, but for the sake of taking one for the Food Blogging Team, I tried it. Delicious. It added just the right amount of smokiness.
This nacho will serve 3-4 people, depending on appetites. You’ll need about 2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded. You can either use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or if you’re cooking the chicken yourself, you’ll want two chicken breasts, seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and paprika and a small onion diced and cooked with the chicken. While the chicken is cooking, squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top. If you happen to have extra chicken, try this Chicken Salsa Verde Dip another day. It doesn’t disappoint.
Next, open a 16 ounce can of refried black beans (not pinto) and empty them into a small sauce pan. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the saucepan and season the beans with chili powder, cumin and paprika. Blend and cook over medium heat until the beans are warm.
Building the Ultimate Chicken Nachos:
In an oven safe skillet or baking sheet, line the taco chips in a single layer as shown below:
The next layer is the refried black beans. Place dollops over the chips making sure all of the chips have some of the beans, then add half of the chicken. Top with a good handful or two of the Monterey Jack and one handful of smoked gouda. Add a second layer of chips, beans, chicken and Monterey Jack cheese, along with a small fistful of sharp cheddar.Bake the Ultimate Chicken Nachos at 400° for about 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the chips are golden.Add the remaining ingredients ~ jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, guacamole or sliced avocados, fresh minced cilantro and a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
I’ve been making this homemade salsa for about 20 years now. My husband brought a salsa recipe home from his favorite Mexican restaurant when he was on a business trip to California a long time ago. We’ve been making it ever since.
The salsa is pretty basic, but all the chopping makes it labor-intensive. I pureed it in the food processor once, but it lacked the chunkiness I like. Garden Fresh brand is a great store-bought option. Jar salsas are fine for other things, but not these Ultimate Chicken Nachos.
Add a bit of fresh salsa to the top of the nacho and more on the side. A tangy margarita or red wine sangria pairs perfectly with the Ultimate Chicken Nachos. Enjoy ~ ole´!
- 1 - bag of tortilla chips
- 2 - cups of shredded, seasoned chicken (see body of post for more info)
- 1 - 16 oz. can of refried black beans
- Smoked gouda, Monterey jack and sharp Cheddar cheeses
- 1 - jalapeno pepper (jar peppers are fine too)
- 1/4 cup of jar of banana peppers (or more)
- Guacamole (store bought or homemade) OR 1 - avocado, sliced
- 1/2 cup of sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt
- Fresh salsa (homemade or store bought), but a good, fresh salsa.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Empty the can of beans into a small sauce pan, along with a bit of water.
- Season the beans with chili powder, cumin and paprika.
- Blend cook over medium heat until the beans are warm.
- In an oven safe skillet or baking sheet, line the taco chips in a single layer.
- Place dollops of the refried beans over all the chips making sure they all have some.
- Add HALF of the shredded chicken.
- Top with a good handful or two of the Monterey jack and one handful of the smoked Gouda.
- Add a second layer of chips, beans, chicken, more Monterey Jack cheese and a handful of sharp cheddar.
- Bake the Ultimate Chicken Nachos for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the chips are golden.
- Remove from the oven and layer the remaining ingredients ~ jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, guacamole or sliced avocados, a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and some fresh salsa.
- You can rotisserie chicken or if you're cooking it yourself, you'll need two boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Season them generously with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and paprika. A bit of fresh lime juice squeezed over the top enhances the flavor. Chop a small onion into the same pan and bake the chicken until it's cooked completely through. Shred using two forks or your fingers.