chipotle chicken nachos

7:04:00 PM


These are the best. I’ve spent a lot of my adult life trying to make nachos slightly healthier, and I’ve never really succeeded. One good technique is to make your own tortilla chips (so easy - cut fresh corn tortillas into wedges, spray with a bit of oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and bake.) Admittedly, baked chips are not quite as hearty and don't stand up to toppings as well, and it’s not what I did here, because it was GAME DAY.

I am not a football fan, and never have been. But, living in a one-bedroom loft condo with a fella who owns a Packers scarf and Packers blanket and Packers hats, sacrifices must be made during season (which is, of course, 90% of the year, right? I swear it never ends.) And I live in Wisconsin, so.  Bob puts up with plenty of my nonsense, and with football comes good food, so I can’t mind too much. A couple times we’ve made homemade soft pretzels with beer cheese sauce. Once we made a giant Cuban sandwich (or was that for the Kentucky Derby? I don’t know.) 

Anyway. I’ve made these a big handful of times over the last few years. They are so. good. I was hesitant to use a recipe that called for ketchup, of all things, as the main ingredient in the sauce base, but I swear, you CANNOT tell. It is nothing but pure deliciousness.(Use one of those fancy organic ketchups with low sugar and um, it’s healthy, right?) The sauce is sweet and smoky and a little spicy. Also, any recipe that starts off with twenty cloves of garlic is good in my book. 

I cut the recipe in half when we make them because in no universe should we have eight servings of nachos available to us. Cutting it in half leaves us with two reasonable portions for dinner plus leftovers for lunch the next day. 

chipotle chicken nachos
serves 8 
adapted (barely) from Katie at the Kitchen Door

for the topping
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled and left whole
14 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
a little olive oil
3 yellow onions,  peeled
1 fresh bay leaf (I use a couple dried)
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 red bell peppers, seeded, deveined, and finely chopped
4 canned chipotles in adobo sauce (or to taste - start with 1 or 2 and if it’s not spicy enough, add more)
1 cup ketchup 
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbs smoked paprika

to assemble
tortilla chips (for 8 servings, about 1 whole bag)
1 cup cheese (I like sharp cheddar, a smoked cheese works well here too) 
2 avocado, chopped
2-3 cups shredded lettuce
a few sliced radishes
sour cream

Start by roasting the unpeeled garlic. Place cloves in a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with a little oil and some salt, and roast in a 375 degree oven until tender, about 20-30 minutes. (It’s really best to just roast an entire head of garlic as long as you’re doing this, because roasted garlic is nirvana, but that’s up to you.) This will go in your sauce later.

 Cook the chicken: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Chop one of the onions (roughly, it’s just for flavor) and add it to the pot along with the bay leaf and chicken thighs. Cook chicken until it reaches 160 degrees, about 10-14 minutes. Remove with tongs and let sit until cool enough to shred. Shred with your hands (easiest) or two forks. Discard the liquid and onion.

Start on the sauce: Chop the remaining two onions and the 14 cloves of peeled garlic. Heat the tablespoon of canola oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes. 

Take your roasted garlic you cooked earlier and toss it in a food processor or blender along with the chipotles (I recommend starting with 1-2 if you’re spice-shy and add more if needed),  ketchup, chicken stock, and smoked paprika. Blend until smooth. Add this sauce to the vegetables in the pan and cook for about 10-15 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken. Finally, stir in in the chicken and heat through.

To assemble nachos, preheat the broiler and place oven rack under the broiler. Line a couple of baking sheets with foil and spray with cooking spray. Add enough chips to cover the bottom, then top with the chicken mixture and cheese. (I usually make a couple of layers - chips, then chicken, then cheese, then repeat.) When broiler is ready, broil nachos for a couple of minutes - watch carefully! - until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Top with whatever you like on your nachos! (My favorite is sour cream, avocado, and shredded lettuce.) 

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