I’ve mentioned the bountifulness of my pantry in a previous post, but what I didn’t mention was that its bountifulness means that I usually forget what’s in it. Sometimes I come home from the shops with 5 packets of pasta, only to find the pantry overflowing with their identical carb-loaded buddies. And then when I think I’ve got something in there, I actually don’t.
I used to flavour my beef for nachos and burritos with little sachets of Mexican seasonings purchased from the supermarket. Of course, one day when I started to cook nachos for dinner, my pantry yielded not even one little yellow packet.
Now Daddyken wasn’t home at the time, so it would have meant I either had to bribe the Cherubs with some lurid-coloured, sugar-infested sweet, or endure the wrath that is the Cherubs being dragged from whatever life-changing thing they were doing, into the car, in order to go to the shops just to buy a $2 sachet of ingredients that was probably more than 50% not natural.
So I rallied up my spices and winged it… and my family didn’t even flinch. Now the reason wasn’t because of my amazing culinary ability to reproduce authentic recipes based on the ingredients in seasoning packets, but because they’re used to me changing recipes on them. And unfortunately, they’ve never been to an actual Mexican restaurant… We have Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian and Italian restaurants in the suburbs, but Mexican restaurants aren’t common – they’ve only really started to pop up in the city in the last few years.
I’ve also found out recently that nachos isn’t actually an authentic Mexican dish. It’s Tex-Mex! Reminds me of when I tasted ‘Beef in black bean sauce’ for the first time in a Chinese take-away when I was a teenager. I couldn’t believe I was Chinese and had never come across the dish before! (there’s a reason why of course – it doesn’t actually exist in the dark, salty, gooey-sauce form that’s offered in take-aways). I have also never ordered it since.
Luckily Daddyken loves my approximation of Tex-Mex Nachos. It’s easy to make and the accompaniments make it light and fresh. And I hope that when we do eventually make it to a Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant, they won’t be too startled with the difference in taste!
My Tex-Mex Nachos
Gluten free (if using corn chips)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red capsicum, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 500g minced beef
- Small bunch of coriander (plus extra for serving)
- Avocado, tomato, lettuce, chopped
- Grated cheese
- Sour cream
- Corn chips or tortillas (cut into wedges and toasted in oven)
- Heat olive oil on a medium-high heat and add the onions
- Cook for 3 minutes and add the capsicum
- When the onion and capsicum is soft, add the spices and tomato paste, and cook for 2 minutes
- Turn the heat up to high, add the mince and cook until the mince is cooked through
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for half an hour
- Add the coriander and simmer for another 10 minutes
To serve, spoon the meat mixture onto a bowl of corn chips or tortillas, add a spoonful of each of the veges, cheese, sour cream, coriander and a squeeze of lime.
- The general method is to put the cheese with the meat under the grill for a yummy melted cheese sensation. We don’t – just because we think it’s yummy as it is and it’s also too much effort!
- Daddyken likes to add store-bought tomato salsa to his nachos, but I think it’s fine without.
- Eat without the corn chips or tortillas and you’ve got yourself a yummy, filling carb-free meal!