Our resident male takes you through a comfort food fave with a fresh new twist. The best accompaniment to any footy match watch-athon, pint or {insert manly thing here}. Grunt.

Nachos

Who doesn’t love nachos? Some sort of crazy person, that’s who.

Sure, they can be a bit unsophisticated and we’ve all had a dud dish or two with a bland boiled mince or a somewhat meh flavoured sauce (official culinary term that). But, when done right, nachos are a bloody moorish treat.

I haven’t had nachos for some time before this incarnation. Corn chips don’t fit in too well with paleo. Luckily, sweet potato makes a fantastic alternative and you really don’t miss the store bought chips here at all. (Well, only a little.)

Also, I skipped out on the bland sauce too. By taking a leaf out of Heston’s book (Heston at Home – aka my food bible) and cooking the meat ’till it’s a real dark brown colour. Doing this adds a huge depth of flavour to the finished dish which is easy to build on with the right spice combination.

Finally, I find with nachos (as with a lot of my dishes) the key is garnish, and plenty of it. I’ve got all the trimmings here: salsa, corn, guacamole and plenty of coriander and lime. You can easily add or remove garnishes according to your taste or available time.

A mandolin is a big help when making the crisps, however the same job could be done with a knife and a lot of patience (which I don’t have).

Make sure you give this one a go!

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Ingredients

Chilli sauce:

  • 500g ground beef or steak mince (not too low in fat. Ideally 10-15%)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
  • Ground chilli/cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

Sweet potato crisps:

  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes (approx 1kg)
  • 1-2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

Salsa:

  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered (you could use larger tomatoes)
  • 1/4 medium red onion, diced (could use a few shallots instead)
  • About an inch of a cucumber, diced
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • Small handful of coriander leaves
  • Juice of half a lime

Guacamole:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

So, we really need to start the sweet potato crisps first, as they can take a while simply due to the oven space they take up. The more oven trays you have here the better.

Preheat the oven to 160c fan or 180c non-fan.

Line your baking trays with baking paper or non stick aluminium foil.

Using a mandolin, Slice the sweet potato into thins, about the thickness of a match. We don’t want it too thin here, or the final result will be too delicate and lack flavour.

Spread out in one layer on the baking sheet and brush with liquid coconut oil.

Place in the oven for around 15-20 minutes until they start to colour. At this point they may still feel soft, but they crisp up as they cool. You can always just take one crisp out and let it cool as a test to see if the others are ready.

(NB I only have one oven tray, so had to do multiple batches. I like a fair few crisps with my meat.)

While the crisps cook, we can get started on the chilli sauce. We want to get the mince as brown as we can without burning it.

Heat some coconut oil (about 1/2 Tbsp) in a pan over a medium heat. Add the mince to the pan about a large tablespoon at a time and cook for a minute before adding the next batch.

Once it is all in the pan, keep frying it off, stirring often, until a dark brown colour is reached. The should take around 10-15 minutes.

Now we cook off the onions and garlic. Increase the pan heat slightly, add a little more coconut oil if it has dried out and then chuck in the onion and garlic. Fry, stirring often, until the onion has softened and started to brown slightly (5-10 minutes).

Now add the paprika and ground cumin seeds, give a quick stir to coat, then add the can of tomatoes. Bring to a light simmer then reduce the heat.

Add chilli/cayenne, salt, pepper and any more paprika/cumin to taste.

Allow to simmer slowly on the stove top (stirring occasionally so it doesn’t catch) while the other components are prepped.

The salsa is simple one. Just add all the ingredients together, sprinkle with lime juice and mix. You can play with what is included, using more or less chilli or adding capsicum, shallots etc.

For the guacamole, just scrape the flesh of the avocado into a bowl, add the lime juice and mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, arrange the chips on a plate, bowl. Place the chilli in the middle (you don’t want your crisps covered in sauce here or they will go soggy). Top with salsa and guacamole.

Garnish as you please. We use coriander leaves, thinly sliced shallots, corn kernels, a squirt of lime and Tabasco (and cheese if you’re that way inclined).

Now eat (obviously). And then go back for seconds (again, obviously).

Oh, and, um… grunt?

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