So, there’s this weird thing about Texas. (Take your pick, right?) And it wasn’t something I realized until I was much older. But it has to do with nachos. (That probably wasn’t your first thing that came to your mind.)
During most of high school, we lived on Dad’s Bean & Cheese Nachos – a large baking pan on which chips, salsa, cheese, beans (half whole, half refried), and jalapenos (half with, half with double!) were piled, then baked, then eaten in an all-out messy free-for-all straight from the pan. Those nachos could show up on enchilada night, on any Sunday afternoon during football season, and nearly every weeknight after Mom had gone back to school and Dad was responsible for “cooking” when he got home from work.
And then there was that weird thing I discovered about nachos in Texas. I ordered nachos at a TexMex restaurant and what came to my table was not… well, it wasn’t any nachos I had ever seen.
It was an arranged platter of separate tortilla chips, with each chip individually – annoyingly, pristinely – topped with your standard nacho fixins. The “nachos” were… beautiful. It looked like it came straight out of a magazine. And it was not the messy free-for-all pile of awesome that I thought I had ordered.
It was… dainty.
It eventually became clear that those individual nacho things were actually a thing. A Texas thing. Everywhere except my parents’ house and any sports stadium ever built. And this Texan? She does not approve of dainty nachos.
So when my box of H-E-B’s July Primo Picks arrived this month, I spied the perfect fixins for nachos.
We started with the sweet potato-tortilla hybrid chips and layered those with cheese, Barracho Beans (made with Texas-based Shiner and still one of my favorite things ever), spicy Chile Pequin Salsa, and chicken seasoned with an all-purose barbecue rub.
Topped with some pico de gallo and sliced fresh jalapenos (not pickled!) straight out of the oven, every bite was the fabulous, messy, hearty, flavorful free-for-all that nachos were meant to be.
Even in Texas.
Chicken and Bean Nachos with Pico de Gallo
Sweet potato tortilla chips serve as the base for these easy (and maybe-not-so-Texas-style) chicken & bean nachos.
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 1 Tbsp H-E-B Texas-Style BBQ All-Purpose Seasoning Mix
- 1 bag (12 oz) Central Market Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips
- 8 oz monterrey jack, shredded
- 1 can (15 oz) H-E-B Texas-Style Barracho Beans, drained
- 1/2 cup Central Market Chile Pequin Salsa
- For the pico de gallo
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1 small handful cilantro, chopped
- 2 jalapenos, sliced
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Pound chicken breasts to even thickness and sprinkle both sides with the BBQ seasoning.
- Place on a large sheet of foil and fold the foil pouch-style
- Place the pouch on a baking pan and cook for ~20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Let cool for ~10 minutes and then shred.
- Spread the tortilla chips out in an even layer on a large baking pan.
- Top with half of the cheese, beans, chicken, the salsa, and remainder of the cheese.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese has melted.
- In the mean time, stir the tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, salt, cilantro, pepper, and jalapenos together in a bowl and set aside.
- Top the nachos with the pico and serve immediately. Straight from the pan in a messy free-for-all recommended.
Yields: 6-8 servings
Estimated time: 50 minutes
This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and opinions are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 3 locations within a 5 mile radius.
Those are some seriously gorgeous nachos! I feel a craving coming on!
Dainty nachos should be an oxymoron! And outlawed. The mess is half the fun!
I thought nothing was dainty in Texas! That is just wrong!
Your nachos look like a pan of awesome!
Those dainty nachos you describe? They are just wrong. For example, how do you steal just a little extra cheese when each nacho is its’ own little island. Clearly wrong. Food that is great eaten over a pan and/or with an adult beverage should not be dainty.
I’m still thinking about those HEB beans you talked about! And also, now I want nachos. They look about as close to perfection as a tray of nachos can get!
Lifelong Texan right now – born and raised in San Antonio – and we totally did the messy nacho thing! That’s the only way I make them!
J is a nacho fan and loves to order them anytime he can. However, he always asks if it is a pile of nachos or individual chips. Individual chips to not make it to our table.
I loved this month’s H-E-B primo picks. Love the barracho beans and the sweet potato chips.
Oh good lordy! This speaks to my soul. Like, you have no idea.
I first saw these individual nachos you describe in one of the Texas cookbooks I won from you and I was like ….. what? Made no sense to me that nachos should be so nicely portioned. I’m all for the mess! And so wishing I had HEB products available to me in Western Washington!
Okay, I have to admit that I grew up on ‘proper’ Texas nachos, nachos that my hubby thinks are completely insane. (He’s not from Texas).
You’ve got me wondering now – why are Texas nachos so dainty and painstakingly put together? Because I’ve made them countless times, and yes, they are a total pain in the ass to prepare. Because it’s true, nothing else about Texas is the least bit fussy or dainty. I don’t get it, now that I think about it.
I will say, Texas nachos are really yummy, especially with refried beans, but I love messy, loaded nachos too. 🙂
I get homesick when I read your blog. Been just over 16 years that I have lived in Texas. As a California girl born & raised, the love of my life was Texas born & half raised in California. I was lucky to live in Tyler and Austin. Love the food and people and everything in between! Been a Longhorn fan since I was in high school thanks to Earl Campbell!! This recipe and pics are so mouth watering I know exactly what we are having for dinner. My only problem, NO HEB, I miss HEB my favorite grocery store of all time. So I will make due with the store here, but I will be tasting TEXAS !!! Thank you for messy nachos 🙂 the everyong should eat them.
YUM! I love how colorful these nachos are!
I headed to Central Market to get the ingredients for these. They look awesome! How did I not know about Shiner beans?
Amazing! I could use a plate of these right now for a midnight snack!
I made this last night–my version of it, inspired by yours. IT WAS SO GOOD! Big hit! Thanks!