Alyssa & Rory’s Cajun Nachos & Guacamole

Cajun NachosFor those that have been following us awhile, they might remember how snobby I was about nachos in our first post at The Whistling Walrus. Part of the reason is because most places just don’t do a very good job with nachos – not enough cheese, too soggy, etc. But the other part of the reason for my high standard is because of this nacho recipe.

When I first started hanging out with my friend Alyssa, we bonded over our love of nachos, and quickly started arranging times to make them together. After a few times making them, we ended up with this recipe, which has since been fed to many other friends with huge success. I’m now posting it to the world in the hopes that all of you will enjoy them too!

I’m also including Alyssa’s tomato-less guacamole in this post, since we always serve them together. It’s one of my favorite guac recipes, so give it a try!

Ingredients

Note that with this recipe especially, measurements are very rough. Feel free to add more or less of anything you like!

guacamole ingredientsTomatoless Guacamole

  • 2 Avocados
  • 3 Tbl juice from jarred jalapeños (can replace with pickle juice or vinegar)
  • 1/2 Tbl lemon juice
  • 1/4 Tbl cayenne powder
  • 1/4 Tbl onion powder

Nachos

  • cajun nacho ingredients1 large bag (~350 g) of salted tortilla chips
  • 1 small red (or green) pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • jarred jalapeños
  • ~250 g thick cut bacon
  • 1 medium (~250 g) chicken breast
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • ~500 g (cheddar) cheese

Notes: The jalapeños can be omitted if you don’t like spicy flavors. You’re also welcome to add any other toppings you enjoy (green onions? lettuce?) but I would caution against putting anything “wet” on the nachos before baking such as refried beans, chilli, or pulled pork. Unless you like your nachos soggy and falling apart (which can also be delicious, but you might rename them to a “nacho casserole” and serve with a spoon), save these toppings as delicious dips. Finally, you’re welcome to experiment with any number of cheeses. You should try to have a mix of strong + lighter flavored cheeses if you do mix – don’t do all mozarella (not much flavor) or all extra old cheddar (too strong!). We find a roughly 50/50 mix of old cheddar and extra old cheddar works well. As well, you don’t need to buy fancy cheese for this – they tend to be a bit too rich. If all you have is some nicer cheeses, just try to cut them with some lighter cheeses like mozarella.

Method

Tomatoless Guacamole

We’ll start with the guacamole. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit. If the avocado is a bit more firm, use Alyssa’s method (pictured below) and dice the avocado while it’s still in the skin, and then scoop out the cubes and mash with a fork. If it’s softer, you can use Nick’s manly method and just squeeze it to death in your hand until all the fruit is in the bowl. Add all the ingredients and mash together until smooth. That’s it!

IMG_0041 IMG_0047

Nachos

bacon stripsStart by heating a large frying pan on medium-high heat. In the mean time, cut the bacon (before cooking) into 1-2 cm pieces and, once the pan is hot, add the bacon and turn down to medium heat. Let the bacon cook until tender or, if you’re insane, crunchy.

While the bacon is cooking, start cutting up the chicken breast. Cut the chicken into thin slices and then again into thin strips. Mix the chicken in a bowl with a healthy coating of cajun seasoning – I usually use around 1/4 cup (40 g) of seasoning. You end up using more than you’d expect because there’s a lot of surface area to cover with the chicken cut so small.

sliced chickenOnce the bacon is done cooking, scoop out the bacon bits and set them aside on some paper towels to help soak up some grease. Drain most of the bacon grease from the pan, add a healthy coating of olive oil (~2 Tbl), and once the oil is hot enough, add the chicken. You should only have to cook for 4-5 minutes before it’s done since it’s cut so small. Once finished, set aside.

nacho assemblyDice the vegetables quite small (1/2-1 cm cuts) and grate the cheese. You’re now ready to assemble! Turn the oven on to broil. Cover a baking pan with tin foil, and put down as many chips as you can fit in a single layer. Add the cheese first, and then sprinkle all of your other toppings evenly on top. Toss it in the oven on one rack down from the top rack, and let it cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is totally melted (and definitely before the chips or cheese start browning). Remove, and serve immediately!

Alyssa and I usually top the nachos with sriracha sauce. Whatever you put on top, sit back and enjoy!

 nachos before baking

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