Thursday, 30 May 2013

Freakangel Cooks: Hot and Heavy Mozza Nachos

When you go out for pub grub with friends there is always the temptation to share those meal sized nachos. Sometimes you give in to temptation and get them, even gobbling them all up yourself without the sharing part heh heh. There's nothing stopping you from having the nachos you crave for supper or a hefty snack in your own home.

The variation I'll be making here involves ground beef, sausage and bacon. However, they can also be made with ground turkey, chicken, pork or using the ever popular option of chunks of chicken. They can be made with just veggies and no meat as well, but for people with a meat tooth like myself that's a much less fun option.

Grab your salsa, meats and a cheese grater and let's get to it!

Hot and Heavy Mozza Nachos 

When making meal nachos of this magnitude there is a certain amount of pre-baking activities to be expected. 

Pre-Baking:

Gather the things you'll be needing so you don't have to keep popping to the fridge and cupboards. You'll see my cheddar filled sausage is still uncut and the bacon and ground beef still raw. 
I like to chop up one sausage while the bacon is just starting to fry in the pan, long before it's crispy though. 
I'm using wide cuts of bacon from my local butcher shop so  here you will see 4 slices torn in half in the early stages of the frying process. Shake a dash of Montreal steak spice over the bacon before it has crisped for a delightful addition of flavour to the already bound to be delicious bacon.
The crispy bacon fresh from the pan is laid flat on a rack over a plate with paper towel to drip dry.  Not only does this reduce the amount of bacon grease you'll be eating but it allows the bacon time to cool while you cook the other nacho toppings.
Fry up the ground beef and chopped cheddar sausage together in the bacon grease until all the meat has browned.  You can continue preparing things while this is cooking, just remember to stir often to prevent anything from sticking on or burning.
You want your meat mix to be hot and flavourful. Add a couple chopped fresh white mushrooms then season with an assortment of spices to your desired level of hotness. I've added fresh ground peppercorns, cayenne pepper, chipotle chilli powder, crushed chillies, roasted red pepper and garlic and several tablespoons of hot salsa. Mix everything through and continue simmering, stirring often while the flavours mingle.
Chop an assortment of bell and banana peppers. The banana peppers I used were from a jar so I actually added those into my pan of simmering spicy meat, although they could have easily been scattered over the chips with the bell peppers if you prefer that style. JalapeƱos are also a nacho favourite, I just happened to be all out tonight. 
While the other meats have been simmering away the bacon from earlier that we crisped to perfection has cooled and dripped dry. Crumble your seasoned bacon into tiny morsels with your fingers into a bowl to later scatter liberally on your chips before baking. 
Grate an ample amount of mozzarella cheese - not only is it delicious but the strings of melty-mozza goodness help hold the nacho toppings on and the nacho mound together. 

Assembly:

Now that all your meats have been cooked and seasoned, cheese grated, and peppers chopped it's time the nacho mound is assembled in an oven safe dish. Pre-heat your oven to 300-325ish while you build and stack your heavenly delight of finger food.

It starts just as you would expect with a layer of tortilla chips at  the base of the dish. As this will carry the brunt of the toppings and layers to come be sure not to make this layer of chips so thick you don't leave enough space in your dish for the coming layers of meat-y, cheesy goodness. 
Liberally spoon on a few tablespoons of the meaty mixture. Then scatter a handful of chopped bell peppers and another of crumbled, seasoned bacon abundantly over the forming nacho base layer. Spoon 4-3 tablespoons of salsa over top in such a way that every chip is kissed by a drop or two but is not drowned in salsa. Finally don't hold back when tossing the grated mozzarella over top; scatter a liberal helping of cheese over top so the next layer of chips will have something to stick to.  
Continue the last step until you either run out of chips and toppings for your nachos or  until you reach (or heap above as in my case haha) the top of your dish. 

Bake:

As everything is already fully cooked and your oven has preheated while you assembled the nacho mound this baking process shouldn't take long at all. Pop your dish of nachos into the oven and tidy up while you wait 10 mins (15 at most) for all the cheese to melt while the nachos bake to perfection. 
Hungry yet? This ooey-gooey monster is a masterpiece of a nacho mound. Hot all the way through; both in temperature and spice! Not to mention hefty and heavy enough to feed you and your friends or leave leftovers for tomorrow if you aren't the sharing type.

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