A beloved happy hour classic, now being served at a campground near you. What better way to end the day outside than with a cold drink, warm campfire, and a big pot full of cheesy nachos?
As irresistible bar food and/or lazy weeknight dinner, nachos seem ideally suited to be a camping staple. They can be made from a variety of fresh and/or canned ingredients, doesn’t require any specific culinary expertise to pull off, and can be eaten with your hands.
However, the lack of a conventional oven might lead people to believe such cheesy, crunchy deliciousness isn’t achievable in the great outdoors. Not true!
By using a cast iron Dutch oven with a lid, you can make nachos no matter where you are. With a Dutch oven, you can place coals or embers on top as well as underneath, allowing you to cook your meal from both sides. However, with nachos, it’s even possible to do the whole thing on the camp stove or over a fire. So long as you include a little bit of liquid in the bottom (perhaps from your tomatoes, beans, or black olives) the steam created will melt the cheese and soften the chips slightly. The end result is tender chips, loaded with melted cheese and toppings.
While these techniques will help you make nachos at a campground, the secret to exceptional nachos lies in one simple concept: layers!
If you’re going to eat nachos for dinner (an act which we fully endorse), then you’ve got the build the meal properly from the ground up.
Think of the chips as the bricks and the cheese and toppings as the mortar. One layer of chips followed by one layer of cheese and toppings. Then, repeat. Keep stacking the layers like that until the pot is filled or you run out of supplies. And of course, every good house needs a roof, so make sure you give a double helping to the top layer.
Place over heat, pour yourself a drink, and when you get back you’ll have a Happy Hour appetizer that’s worthy of being called dinner.
- 1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil
- 1/2 lb tortilla chips
- 1 (7.75 oz) can El Pato hot tomato sauce, or equivalent
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained
- 1 large avocado, cubed
- 4-5 green onions, sliced
- handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 small lime, cut into wedges
- Lightly oil the bottom of a large dutch oven, to prevent the nachos from sticking.
- For the first layer, evenly spread 1/3 of the chips into the dutch oven, topped with 1/4 can El Pato, 1/4 can black beans, 1/4 cup cheese, and a handful of avocado, green onions, and cilantro. Repeat for the second layer.
- For the third and final layer, use the remaining 1/3 portion of chips, 1/2 can El Pato, 1/2 can black beans, 1/2 cup cheese, and the remaining avocado, onion, and cilantro.
- Cover the dutch oven and place on a metal grill over your campfire for about 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve with the lime wedges.