The Staten Island salsa with its tomatillo and tomato roots provides the flavor base for these Sour Cream Chicken Nachos (photo below). The first time I had these was when I went to Texas to visit a friend from college. It was love at first bite with the spicy chicken, cool sour cream, gooey cheese, and crunchy tortilla chips. Back in Virginia, we didn't really have much Tex-Mex. I'd eaten tacos with packaged seasoning and shells from a box, but that was about as far as anything resembling Mexican food ever got. Well, except for the Chili con Queso I mentioned previously.
Yes, that actually is snow falling in the background
"No fork - how can you call them 'fork tacos' if there's no fork?!"
This is a perfect dish to make to get your Superbowl party started. You can pull a big plate of these together and let everyone just dig in for themselves, serving them with cool, creamy, citrusy Guacamole. The chicken can even be prepared the day before (just pack it up with some extra sauce to keep it tender). This recipe came about in part because I was trying to make Enchiladas Suizas. They didn't really come out all that great, but I had all this leftover meat. I really actually prefer nachos anyway with the crunch of the chips as a contrast to the soft, gooey toppings, so I changed the recipe around, which I think came out better in the end anyway.
Sour Cream Chicken Nachos
Prep Time: About 30 minutes, more like 45 if you need to poach the chicken
Serving Size: As many nachos as you can fit on a plate!
1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1/2 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and finely minced
1/4 c. white onion, minced
2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded*
1 c. Brooklyn Salsa Company Staten Island salsa
1 Tbsp. Brooklyn Salsa Company Brooklyn salsa (optional, I just wanted more heat)
1/4 c. water
1 c. chicken stock (or chicken poaching water*)
1/4 tsp. salt
Tortilla chips, your favorite brand
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Put jalapeno and onion into pan and let cook over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Take care not to let them get browned or burnt. Add chicken and salsa and stir to incorporate. Pour in chicken stock and water. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to let it simmer.
Cook for about 15 minutes, until almost all the liquid has been absorbed into the meat. If you are not going to use this right away, store the chicken in the liquid so that it doesn't dry out. If you want to make enchiladas at this step, this is the perfect stage to stop as well, as there will be plenty of sauce to make them.
If making nachos, cook for about 5 minutes more at this point to have most of the liquid absorbed into the meat, as you don't want soggy nachos. Turn off the heat. Add salt and stir. Taste for seasoning. The chicken should have some heat as a backnote but should really just be flavorful and have a bright punchy taste to it. If you would like more heat, add some additional salsa at this point and stir.
Assemble nachos. This might have to be done in a couple of batches. Put tortilla chips in a single layer on a large microwaveable plate or platter. Place a dollop of the chicken mixture on each chip. Dot each chip with sour cream, probably no more than 1/8-1/4 tsp. per chip. Then, sprinkle a bit of cheese on each chip to cover it. Put in microwave for about 15 seconds on high to melt the cheese. (I just use the "Reheat" button on mine which seems to be enough time.) Serve immediately along with Guacamole.
*Kitchen Witch Tip:
I poached a couple of chicken breasts for this recipe, as I had them on hand, but you can use any parts. To cook (poach) them, I put them in a Dutch oven along with a couple of bay leaves and a couple of slices of white onion. Then I poured enough water over them to cover them. I brought the water up to a slow boil and then turned it down a bit to a simmer. After about 20 minutes (check after 15), the chicken should be cooked through and no longer pink inside.
Remove chicken from the pan and set aside to cool before shredding it. Put a sieve over a glass, heatproof measuring cup and pour the liquid from the pan through the sieve into the cup. This liquid will go back in to the pot when cooking the chicken with the salsa. This way, you don't lose any chicken flavor in the dish. Take the onion that you used to cook the chicken and chop that up finely to use as the onion for the above recipe.
This entry is also cross-posted at Blogher.