I got hit with a bolt of inspiration the other day: autumn nachos. I googled around and found nothing else of the sort. As my mind raced I used the Notes app on my phone to keep track of the ideas. These were gonna be some heavy nachos at first, as my initial thoughts included baked butternut squash shreds and pomegranate arils on top of everything else below. Let’s be glad that I left those off for the structural integrity of the chips.
This is a very customizable recipe that looks like more effort than it’s worth, but it’s not as bad as the steps imply, especially if you do a bit of the prep ahead of time. Here’s how I did it quickly and easily.
- 6 scallions
- 2-3 jalapeños
- 1 can whole (not jellied) cranberry sauce
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 t ground cumin
- A quarter to half a bag of whole nachos, no small pieces
- 1 medium onion
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 7-8 whole brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 rounded tablespoon of pumpkin puree (optional)
- Sodium citrate
- 8 oz white cheddar, shredded
- 1/4 cup or so of milk or beer (non-sweet pumpkin beer or a brown ale would be great here)
- Sour cream
- Extra cilantro for garnish
- Crumbled sage
- Make the cranberry salsa first.
- Chop the scallions finely. Remove and discard the seeds and membranes from the jalapeños (use as many or as few as you want for heat, but use at least one), then chop them finely. Save some finely diced jalapeños for later in a separate container.
- Mix the scallions, jalapeños, can of cranberries, cumin, and cup of cilantro together and let sit in a covered container in the fridge overnight. Take a break for now.
- Assemble all your other ingredients in easy reach. Everything else goes quickly from here.
- Caramelize the onions.
- Thinly slice the onion.
- Heat up 3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan over medium high heat.
- Add a pinch of salt and stir well.
- Saute the onions until they are golden, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium as needed if the onions are burning.
- Set aside, do not cover.
- Fry the brussels sprouts.
- Heat a tablespoon of butter in a smaller frying pan over medium high heat.
- Use a paring knife to slice the bottom off of each sprout, and cut crosswise. Remove the core parts, and slice any edges so that the leaves are all thin ribbons.
- Fry the sprouts until the edges are brown and crisp.
- Set aside, do not cover.
- Make the queso.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of sodium citrate to the bottom of a small saucepan.
- Pour enough milk or beer to cover the bottom of the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add a rounded tablespoon of pumpkin puree, if using. Stir until smooth.
- One handful at a time, add the 8 oz of shredded cheese, stirring to incorporate.
- After all of the cheese has melted, remove from heat and set aside briefly.
- Turn the oven to 400 degrees.
- Scatter the nachos on parchment paper on a baking sheet, layering and letting them overlap slightly.
- Evenly pour the queso over the nachos.
- Add the caramelized onions over the cheese (I actually only used about half but save the rest for something else!).
- Scatter the brussels sprouts even only the onions.
- Scatter the extra diced jalapeños over the sprouts.
- Put the sheet pan in the oven for 4-5 minutes.
- Remove with oven mitts and use a spoon to evenly distribute some of the cranberry salsa (I used about 1/3 of the recipe I made above here but use more as desired) over the chips.
- Repeat with sour cream, as desired.
- Finish off with a sprinkling of pepitas, crumbled sage and extra cilantro leaves.
- Serve immediately.
These might sound weird with everything going on, but the flavors come together so well for a full on autumnal ambiance that won’t have you sad about the nachos of summer being gone.