Although nachos are usually served as an appetizer or even a bar snack, this version is healthy and hearty enough for dinner, as it’s loaded with chicken and black beans and topped with chunks of fresh tomatoes and avocado.
Chicken Taco Nachos
For the black beans:
2 Tbs. lard, bacon drippings or canola oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cans (15 oz./470 g each) black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 lb. (625 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. canola oil
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 oz. (185 g) corn tortilla chips
6 oz. (185 g) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sour cream
To make the beans, in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the lard. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cumin, season with salt and pepper and sauté just until the garlic is soft, about 1 minute.
Add the beans and stir to coat with the fat and seasonings. Add the broth, stir once or twice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans thicken, about 20 minutes. When the beans are done, taste, adjust the seasoning and cover to keep warm.
While the beans are simmering, prepare the chicken: Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
Arrange the chicken on a large plate. Brush on both sides with the canola oil and season all over with the cumin, chili powder and salt. Arrange on the prepared pan and bake until opaque throughout, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, using your hands or 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.
Preheat a broiler.
Spread the tortilla chips in a single layer in a large cast-iron pan or on a clean baking sheet. Top with the black beans, then the chicken and then the cheese. Slip under the broiler and broil just until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
Remove the nachos from the broiler and, using a large, wide spatula, carefully transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with the tomatoes and avocado. Dollop with the sour cream and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Taco Night, by Kate McMillan