Every once in a while a need kicks in for a backyard getaway with good beer, great margaritas and a big platter of finger food, nachos.
What I love about this simple snack is how many ways it can be prepared. I have one family with several different “types” of appetites. So when preparing a dish as fantastic as this it needs to be set up “buffet” style so that everyone can enjoy their own brand of flavor, meat or no meat, salsa or naked.
A bowl of fresh tomato salsa, another of guacamole, a plate with several chunks of avocado, a bowl of freshly cut tomatoes, a small bowl of green onions, a bowl of sour cream, a warmer or fondue pot of cheese sauce so that it remains creamy and fabulous, and a second warmer or slow-cooker filled with succulent pulled pork. If you don’t see your favorite ingredient here toss it in a dish and add it to the table. Our motto as always of course,is if possible use fresh ingredients.
Of course a great way to begin is with the tempting Frozen Margarita, pictured above.
I use Food Network’s Tyler Florence’s Dry Rub recipe for the Pulled Pork and about a 5 pound pork roast.
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
Rub it down thoroughly, wrap in plastic and let it sit idly in the fridge over night.
In the morning, assemble the following;
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cups water or chicken broth
I use the slow-cooker method so that my oven is free for other frivolity, which are delectable desserts.
Heat up vegetable oil in a large skillet and cook the pork until it is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove roast and add a bit of liquid to skillet to whisk in with the drippings. Transfer liquid from skillet into slow cooker and add remaining ingredients. Add the roast, cover, set to low and let it cook for 8 hours.
When your pork roast is literally falling apart, transfer to cutting board and strain liquid in to bowl or sauce pan. Shred pork with a fork and add back in to the slow-cooker or warmer for serving. From this point forward there are a couple of options. You can add some of your favorite barbecue sauce, to your desired consistency or work with your reserved liquid.
Add reserved liquid in to a sauce pan and bring to a boil, cook until reduced by about half. Season with salt to taste. Take about a cup, or the amount to the consistency your desire, and add to shredded pork. Add salt and vinegar to taste.
Basic Fresh Salsa
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion ( red, yellow, white, whatever you prefer )
- 3 to 5 serrano chiles, finely chopped ( you choose the number of chiles, it is for your table. )
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/8 olive oil ( this can be omitted if you would rather do without the oil )
- 1 tsp salt
- Juice of a lime ( yes, freshly squeezed is always best )
Method: Combine all ingredients and chill ( I always add a dash or two of cumin to mine, however it’s not the perfect flavor for everyone….add or omit )
- 8 large avocados
- 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 medium serrano chiles, seed and dice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Method: Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit, scoop flesh in to a mixing bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash the avocado to desired consistency. It’s up to you whether or not you would like it chunky or a fine mash.
- Toss in remaining ingredients and season to taste. Chill
Simple Cheese Sauce
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese or 4 ounces cheddar and 4 ounces pepper jack
- 1 2/3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 cup milk. cream or half n half
- Method: Since we are not using flour, we do not need to add our starch to the mix before the cheese. Toss your cheese and corn starch together with a dash of salt and set aside.
- Add your milk or cream to medium sauce pan and heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a rapid simmer. Add your cheese mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until smooth. Once all cheese is added, if you wish to add a hot sauce to warm the flavor, now is the time. If your sauce is a bit too thick, add a bit of milk until it reaches the consistency you desire.
- Pour in to a pre warmed crock or fondue pot for easy self service.
With all the players in place, it’s time to lightly toast the chips. We used a new brand of Authentic Tortilla Chips from Tim’s® Cascade Snacks, made with 100% yellow corn, all natural, no preservatives, no added colors and no trans fats. If you wish to toast them, put in the oven at 350 degrees for a few mins and keep your eyes on the prize. They can burn quickly. Bring them out, toss them in a large bowl and set in the center of all the “trimmings”.
This allows my chips and cheese only kid to make his own, my chips, cheese and meat only, child to make her own and my add everything to pile and eat it all teen to enjoy his meal, his way.