Stovetop Chicken Nachos

Stovetop Chicken Nachos

Growing up, chicken nachos were my absolute favorite food. There was a Mexican restaurant about a fifteen minute walk from my house, and my friend and I would head over there after school to gorge on those glorious plates of chips, chicken, and cheese. The trick to their nachos, which puts them on a tier above every other nacho plate I’ve had, is the use of a queso sauce. Melted cheese is wonderful, but pouring queso over the chips first ensures that cheese reaches every part of that magnificent pile of chips, eliminating the dreaded under-topped nacho.

This here is my best attempt to reverse-engineer their nacho recipe. I have spent years working on it (ever since I left Virginia, really), with the queso being the most difficult aspect to replicate. Over that time I tried countless ideas and variations to attempt to replicate their perfect queso and, as is often the case, one of the simplest turns out to be the best.

The trick to a good queso dip is mostly in the cheese. You need a cheese with a high fat content and low melting point, so that it will dissolve into that creamy, silky texture, and stay liquid for as long as possible. The trick that works best (and that most restaurants use) is American cheese. It turns out that the best queso dip is actually incredibly easy to make. Just melt some American cheese with milk, green chile, and spices, and voila, beautiful queso dip.

In the bus, we forego the top layer of melted cheese, as baking the nachos adds quite a bit of work without an oven, and I honestly don’t miss it. Just pile up some chips with shredded chicken and queso dip, and then top them with whatever goodies you enjoy. I like shredded lettuce, black olives, pico de gallo, and a good squirt of both sour cream and taco sauce or salsa roja. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.


chicken nacho recipe


Chicken Nachos

Shredded Chicken:
1 lb. chicken breast
½ yellow onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste

Queso Dip:
1 lb. White American Cheese
½ cup milk
1 cup good green chile
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin

Tortilla Chips
Enchilada Sauce/Taco Sauce
Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
Mexican Sour Cream
Sliced Black Olives
Pico de Gallo

Shredded Chicken:
Sear the chicken in a saucepan over medium-high heat to achieve a nice brown crust on both sides. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are browning at edges. Add tomato paste and cook for a minute or two until slightly darkened. Add broth, lime, and spices, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken can be easily shredded with a fork. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning with salt. Allow to cool until you can touch it easily. Shred the chicken with two forks and return it to the pan, mixing it with the onions and sauce.

Queso Dip:
Add the cheese, milk, green chile, and spices to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir regularly. As the mixture warms, the cheese will melt and form a uniform sauce.

Lay out a layer of tortilla chips, pour over a nice helping of queso dip, add a handful of shredded chicken, and cover the lot with your choice of toppings. I would suggest iceberg lettuce, sliced black olives, pico de gallo, and a drizzle of sour cream and enchilada or taco sauce.



Related Recipes:

Salsa Blanca

Tex-Mex Risotto

Horchata Panna Cotta

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