No really. EVER.
You know you've been eating too many of The Best Nachos Ever when you run out of chili powder several times since your daughter's been born, but you maybe never ran out of chili powder before she was born. Another clue is when you realize you can't make The Best Nachos Ever for your husband's birthday because you've already served The Best Nachos Ever to all the birthday guests when they've previously visited, and you don't want them to think all you eat is nachos. Even if that is sort of the truth.
The thing is, these are so good and so easy and did I mention they are the best ever?
What exactly, you may ask, makes these nachos The Best Nachos Ever? Well, there's a little something called America's Test Kitchen's Beef Taco Filling, plus a lot of love.
The Best Nachos Ever
Adapted from Cooking at Home with America's Test Kitchen - 2006 Companion
Yield: enough for 3-4 big eaters (i.e., we have never had leftovers)
1 teaspoons oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb. lean ground beef (or other ground meat; we have successfully used yak and bison from farmer's market)
1/2 cup tomato sauce or diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar (or plain vinegar if that's what you have)
1 bag delicious, thicker-cut tortilla chips (or half a bigger bag)
4 ounces sharp cheddar or jack cheese, coarsely grated (about a cup)
2/3 cup (about half a 15 oz. can) refried beans with green chilies
Avocado or guacamole
Fresh, coarsely chopped cilantro
Cholula or other hot sauce of choice
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until hot and just shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, spices, and salt; cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon and scraping the pan bottom to prevent scorching, until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce or tomatoes, water, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low (or low if you have a hot gas burner, like we have) and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until the meat has no more large chunks and the liquid has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. (This meat is great in tacos too, just as the American Test Kitchen gods intended.)
On a nonstick baking sheet, layer the tortilla chips, dollop with refried beans, evenly pour the beef topping, and finish with the shredded cheese. Place in oven and broil for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and tortilla chips are browning a bit around the edges. Nibble a bit to make sure the beans are cooked through. When done, serve immediately to only those most deserving of loved ones with the sides listed above and/or anything else that sounds good to you.
You are REALLY going to like these. Probably because they are the best ever.