Thursday, 19 December 2013

Paleo Nachos with "Re-Fried Beans"

Is it just me or is the paleo-recipe world expanding at the speed of light?  I can't say enough how many awesome recipes and food ideas are out there nowadays--really smart ideas that make me wonder; why didn't I think of that?!

This is one of those things.

I did not think up this idea.  Any of these ideas.  I first saw it here.  And as soon as I saw it, I knew it would work--multiple ways.  So then I just went about the business of adapting the ideas I saw to work with what I had on-hand.

I used to think that nacho platters and re-friend beans were a thing of my past...

I mean, how can you replace nacho chips, right?

Rainbow peppers--sweet rainbow peppers.  That's right.  Because the chips are just a vessel to hold the chili, cheese, re-fried beans and guac.  Brilliant, right?  Yea, I'm not that brilliant.  But I know delicious when I taste it.

And yea, you did hear that right.  I said re-fried beans.  Only without beans.  Bean-less re-fried beans.  Sometimes you gotta throw all the food rules that you think you know right out the window.  Really, what is the dominant taste in re-fried beans? Certainly not the bean, again, that's just the vessel.  It's the right blend of seasoning and spice, and the stick-to-your-ribs creaminess.  Well, you can get that without the beans. Honest.  So lets start with re-fried beans.  I basically took 2 recipes and adapted it the way I wanted it (see them here and here)...

You will need:
1 small squash--butternut or delicata squash is best
1/2 onion
bacon grease for frying
1/2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp juice from pickled jalapenos
a few pickled jalapeno rings, minced
a dash or two of cayenne
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbs tomato paste

Cook your squash however you want--I cook mine in the microwave.  While that's cooking, whip out your magic bullet or food processor and finely mince your sun-dried tomatoes.  Chop your onions.  In the bacon grease, cook your onions and spices in the bacon grease until they begin to turn translucent.  Add dried tomatoes, tomato paste, jalapenos and juice and cook for another minute or two.  Transfer cooked squash and cooked onion and spice mixture to food processor or magic bullet and blend until smooth.  Chill--this will thicken in the fridge.

That's 7 small rainbow-coloured sweet peppers
Alright, now let's talk nachos.  Yes, you totally need a whole lot of rainbow peppers (about 6-7 for a cookie sheet, so do this when they're on sale, ok?).  And some leftover chili.  But in my house there's no such thing as leftover chili.  It just never happens.  Let me tell you a little secret--taco meat.  It makes totally fine nachos (and this recipe has the best blend of spices to taste just like that spice packet we're all used in the past....). To a pound (or 1 1/2 lbs) of ground beef, add spices, cook until no longer pink, then add 1/2 cup water and let simmer for a few minutes.  It will sauce up just like those spice packets do.  What, you want your taco meat a little more...chili-like?  How about adding a couple of tablespoons tomato paste and an equal part water at the tail end?  You're welcome.  It's really that easy.
Took 2 hands to get this beast in the oven...

Ok, so you made your re-fried beans, you made your taco meat.  You chopped peppers until your wrist hurt (I'm kidding--it takes about 5 minutes...).  Layer the nacho peppers on a cookie sheet with the meat mixture, then with grated cheese (if you do dairy) and green onions, and bake at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.  Enjoy with guac, salsa, and plain full-fat yogurt.
And voila.  That's the re-fried beans up front.  I pigged out.  There's was Frank's Hot Sauce involved.

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