We kicked it up a notch around here tonight and made Emeril's Shredded Chicken and Cheese Nachos with Pico de Gallo. It took nearly 2 hours to prepare and was so good that I have no words to describe it.
My suggestion on making this meal is to do it when you don't have kids underfoot and you have a glass of wine in hand. You can take your time and enjoy! I realize this may not be the 2 hour weeknight dinner recipe you've been searching for, but it is a very fun weekend dinner with friends! Becke', you are going to be all over this like white on rice, I just know it! You're getting giddy already I can tell!
Shredded Chicken Nachos with Pico de Gallo
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2006
For the Chicken:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast diced into 3-inch strips
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
4 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
Set a wide-mouthed 3-quart saucepan with lid over medium-high heat and add the oil to the pan. Season the chicken pieces with the chili powder and salt and toss the evenly coat. Add the chicken to the pan and sear for 3 minutes per side. Add the onions to the pan and saute for another 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Pour the chicken stock over the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat and cover. Continue to cook the chicken until very tender, about 1 hour, stir the chicken to shred it and continue to cook, covered, for another 30 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, stir and mash to shred the chicken meat and add the lime juice to the chicken. Set aside as you prepare the nachos.
For the Nachos:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained
2 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 to 10 cups corn tortillas
4 cups shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup green onions finely sliced
3/4 cup sour cream, for garnishing
1/2 cup sliced pickled jalapenos, for garnishing
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnishing
Pico de Gallo, for serving, recipe follows
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not allow the flour to color. While whisking constantly, add the milk in a steady stream. Add the green chiles and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Add the Cheddar, salt, and cayenne pepper and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Cover and remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large, ovenproof shallow casserole or on a large baking sheet, spread half of the tortilla chips in an even layer. Top with half of the chicken, and half of the Monterey Jack cheese. Top with the remaining tortilla chips and chicken. Pour the hot cheese sauce over the chicken, then evenly spread the remaining grated Monterey Jack over the top. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the nachos are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes. Garnish with the sliced green onions, sour cream, pickled jalapenos and cilantro. Serve with the Pico de Gallo alongside.
Yield: 6 servings
For the Pico de Gallo:
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Emeril's Red Hot Pepper Sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until the salsa is of uniform consistency but still slightly chunky, about 7 pulses. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until ready to serve the nachos.
Yield: 1 cup