OF COURSE we usually have well-balanced meals around here. Lean meats and vegetables. And fruit!

But sometimes it’s fun to share a pile of nachos for dinner. Like, when “Lost” is on. Or “Die Hard.” Or, when after roughly 72 icy, gray weekends in a row, Mother Nature smooths her furrowed brow and grants you a perfectly sunny Saturday. One that you just HAVE to celebrate.

Preferably with chorizo.

We’re celebrating with this platter full of Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Nachos. Crumbled chorizo, spicy pintos, a molten mix of pepper jack and sharp Cheddar cheeses, sliced onions and chopped jalapenos. Enough heat to get your attention, but certainly not enough to require medical intervention.

However, if chorizo isn’t your thing, feel free to load up these nachos with your favorite ingredients: diced tomatoes, pulled pork, sliced green onion, chopped cilantro, leftover cooked chicken, seasoned ground beef. You could drizzle the warm nachos with sour cream and lime juice. Or top them with guacamole. Or, skip the meat entirely, and pile on the beans and roasted vegetables.

We’ll get back to balancing our meals tomorrow.

Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Nachos

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking”

Serves 4

  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from casings and crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • Tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1 small white onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 5 large jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and chopped, or to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the chorizo, garlic and cumin over medium-high heat until the sausage is browned, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  3. To the fat in the pan, add the pinto beans, chili powder, salt, and 1/2 to 1 cup water (depending on the moisture in the beans). Cook over medium heat until warmed through, smashing with the back of a heavy wooden spoon or potato masher until chunky/smooth. Remove from the heat.
  4. On a large ovenproof platter or baking dish, spread 1 layer of chips. Top with a layer of 1/2 of the beans, then 1/2 of the sausage, cheeses, onion rings, and chopped jalapenos. Repeat that order for the second layer. Bake until the cheeses are melted, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lime juice and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over the nachos, garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.