We have become connoisseurs of the late night nacho recently. Typically, the wave of nacho-need strikes us a few hours after a scrounged dinner of something measly like cereal, or after a shared bottle of wine. These hankerings are never pre-planned, but being the quality lovers of Tex-Mex that we are, we always have the necessary materials on hand in some shape or form.
Tortilla chips are almost always in the house, as a habit. One unfortunate evening, we realized the bag had subsided to minuscule crumbs, so we made our own by lightly frying corn tortillas that had been lurking in the pantry. Talk about commitment to a craving. We can generally finagle some form of protein, whether it’s a leftover rotisserie chicken or black beans, and there’s never not a block of cheese sitting in the refrigerator, patiently waiting to be sprinkled over something crunchy and melted into deliciousness.
We shook things up this past week by planning epic nachos for dinner, instead of shamefully microwaving chips and cheese on a paper plate at midnight. Our freezer is filled with different meat cuts that I impulsively buy when on sale, so we decided to slow cook a pork roast with some of our favorite salsa verde, to shine as the star of this nacho performance. We cooked the pork for about 6 hours on the low setting, smothered in the succulent green sauce. By the end, it was tender and juicy, left to steep in its own flavors, making it even better the next day. For such a cheap cut of meat, it made a great end-product that we now have grand ideas for using in various other meals (tacos, anyone?).
The chips nestled themselves in the cast-iron skillet, topped with the pulled pork, then sprinkled generously with a layer of white cheddar, then halved cherry tomatoes, then more white cheddar. Into the oven it went for about 8 minutes, until the cheese was melted and bubbly, and the tomatoes were shriveled slightly, releasing their sweet and decadent juices. We finished it off with a mixture of toppings that our taste buds particularly adore: crunchy white onion, fresh and spicy jalapeno slices, and satisfyingly creamy avocado chunks.
Taking photos of the finished product was agonizing, until I got to the portion in my routine where I steal nibbles.
It can be made in any oven-safe dish, although I prefer both the presentation and versatility of a cast-iron skillet. While it’s not the healthiest of meals, it is a reason to consume the freshest, most flavorful ingredients of the southwest atop succulent pork and satisfyingly crunchy chips. AND it beats the regrettable microwave nachos that we’ve all succumbed to.