Chotchkie's Nachos

Sorry, took this on my cameraphone, since I couldn’t find my real camera.

Growing up in Green Bay, every few weeks we’d make the half-hour drive down to Appleton to have dinner at Chili’s, listening to A Prairie Home Companion on the way down (and thus, getting addicted to public radio at an early age). I didn’t really care for anything at Chili’s, with one major exception: I loved their nachos. A side order of nachos (12) was roughly meal sized, so it worked out great, though the waiter would always look puzzled when I ordered a “appetizer”, and nothing else. To this date, I don’t think I’ve ever had any “dinner” items at Chili’s.

One thing always puzzled me though. How did each nacho look perfect, with chili and cheese going to every corner of the chip, but not overflowing onto the plate? And why was each chip completely flat, when 99% of the chips in your average bag are warped?

Today, it hit me: They fry corn tortillas flat, load them with toppings, cook them, then cut them into quarters. With that piece of the puzzle, I headed to the store to get the necessary ingredients. I took a guess on the composition of the chili, and it came out nearly dead on. So I present:

Chotchkie’s Nachos

6” diameter corn tortillas (3 per serving)

16 oz refried beans (vegetarian has the best consistency in this case)

10.5 oz canned beef chili, no beans

Cheddar-jack shredded cheese

Jalapeño slices (fresh or pickled, your choice)

Chopped lettuce (which I forgot)

Sour cream

Combine refried beans and chili, and mix well. The mixture should have a very spreadable consistency.

Brush frying pan with oil, heat on medium-high. For each tortilla, brush each side with oil, then pan fry, using a slotted spatula to keep the tortilla from ballooning. When tortilla is golden brown, evacuate to paper towels and pat dry. Congratulations, you’ve made tostadas!

Spread a thin layer of the chili mix onto the tostada and top with a layer of shredded cheese. Microwave for approximately 1 minute. This will melt the cheese and give the tostada a half-flexible/half-crunchy consistency, similar to actual Chili’s nachos. Using a pizza cutter, slice the tostada into quarters.

Arrange 12 nachos around a plate, overlapping slightly for full presentation. Top each nacho with a jalapeño slice. Add lettuce and sour cream to center.

Serve with pizza shooters, shrimp poppers, or extreme fajitas. Always make sure to wear enough flair when presenting.