Nachos are the ultimate DIY game day food. And with the ultimate game day just around the corner, we figured we’d take a moment to discuss the proper way to prepare the dish.
When done right, a good nacho is a veritable frenzy of flavor and texture, everything contrasting and complementing at once. It is crunchy and chewy and creamy and gooey, spicy and roasty and tangy and sweet. And while it’s quite a straightforward dish to make, it’s not as simple as dumping stuff on a tray and sliding it all into the oven.
After all, we’ve all had nachos that amount to less than the sum of their parts. The tortillas turn soggy under too much weight. The meat seems to be there more to tick off a box than to provide texture and taste. The cheese comes shredded from a bag and is mostly reminiscent of wax. There are plenty of potential pratfalls while navigating your way through NachoLand. So we are sharing our recipe to help you find your way. Behold, Murray’s Monger’s Nachos:
At the core of this recipe is the selection of cheese and meat. We use wheels of Arzúa-Ulloa and Pawlet, both of which are exceedingly excellent melters and combine for a buttery profile that provides the ideal base on which to build the bold flavors of a proper nacho. And you’ll be getting some of that boldness from La Quercia Nduja—a spicy prosciutto spread—and Palacios Chorizo, a smoky, chewy, dried sausage.
The technique for making your nachos sturdy and durable is straightforward but essential: you want to build them in layers. A common mistake is laying down all the chips, then plopping on all the toppings. You want build your nachos almost like you would a club sandwich or a lasagna: there should be a couple levels of chips, each layered with cheese, meat, and toppings. That’ll keep the textures, flavors, and proportions balanced throughout. Keep that in mind, and you’ll have your nachos looking like the ones above by following this recipe:
Naturally (or shall we say: nachorally), that’s not going to be enough for game day. Your average football game lasts 3 hours and 15 minutes—and this is no average football game. Factor in the pregame broadcast, a glut of commercial time, and the high-production halftime show, and you’re looking at an event in excess of 4 hours. Kitchen expertise—what we’ll call conventional oven wisdom—has established that the primary folly of game day-hosting is frontloading the food offerings. If you prepare everything to be served at kickoff, your food will be fresh for about the first half of the first quarter. That leaves you and your guests snacking on limp, lukewarm food for most of the night.
Instead, you want to get everything set beforehand, and then bring the food out in waves. For example, prep your nachos before the game, and then pop them in the oven at the beginning of the second quarter. They’ll be ready before halftime, and will carry your crowd through to the latter part of the game, at which point it’ll be time to bust out the sweets.
Still, you need to hit them with a solid spread upon arrival, and we’ve designed one for that express purpose. We call it The MVP:
That’s 2.5 pounds of cheese and half a pound of premium charcuterie, along with buttery olives and two types of crackers. It easily serves 8-10 people and requires absolutely no prep on your part. It is also best enjoyed at room temperature, meaning you can put it out before your guests arrive and they can return to it throughout the game for periodic pecking.
Between your nachos and your cheese platter, you’ve got a first-rate, sharable feast that will minimize your time in the kitchen and maximize your time enjoying the game. And just like that, no matter who ends up winning, you’ll be sure to come out on top.