When the FDA finally comes out with their list of Top 5 Most Important Tailgating Foods (should be any day now), I expect to see nachos close to the top. As I demonstrated recently with our other nacho-centric Test Kitchen creation, Baja Fish Nachos, a good topping can elevate a simple party dish into…dare I suggest, a meal?
I cut a few corners on the chicken tinga, spicy shredded chipotle-braised chicken that loves nacho toppings, condensing it into one pot to keep things convenient. I mean, do you want an awesome snack in time for kickoff or what?
For the chicken tinga
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 jalapeno pepper, split, seeds removed
- 1/2 small can chipotles in adobo sauce
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 5 whole cloves
For the nachos
- 1/2 large bag tortilla chips
- 8 ounces monterey jack cheese, coarsely shredded
- sour cream and cilantro, to garnish
For the chicken tinga:
- Heat a tablespoon of canola oil in a medium oven-safe saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown all over. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Heat the other tablespoon of canola oil and sauté the onions, garlic, bay leaf and jalapeno until fragrant, 5-7 minutes, then add the chipotles, chicken stock and cloves. Bring to a boil, mashing up the chipotle peppers with a wooden spoon, then reduce to a simmer.
- Add chicken back to pot, stir to coat completely, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours, then remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it and set it aside.
To assemble the nachos:
- Pile the chips on a serving platter, then distribute the shredded chicken evenly over the top.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top, then microwave for the minimum amount of time necessary to just melt the cheese — shouldn't be more than 10 seconds. Don't let those chips get soggy.
- Garnish with sour cream and cilantro and serve immediately.