And now for a brief moment of levity with a tasty recipe, of course. With the Super Bowl right around the corner, you'll want to try my latest Outre Entree, Swamp Chef Nachos!
My nephew Zak lives in Gonzales, Louisiana where my Mom is, too. He has worked in the restaurant business off and on since high school, so he has good taste and he approved my latest recipe especially after indulging in a bit of puffery, of the cannabis variety...hmmm, maybe that had a bit of influence?
And Swamp Chef Nachos? It is a similar recipe to regular Nachos, with the main difference of adding Crawfish Tails!
This seafood spin is easy enough to substitute with cheaper small bay shrimp if you don't have access to a one-pound package of cooked Crawfish Tails.
This recipe video starts simply enough, just a walk in the neighborhood and a chance meeting.
And who should the Swamp Chef run into but his nephew Zak and his English Mastiff and Lab mix, Marshall. I bet you can't guess what I'm walking...well you'll have to watch the video!
If you have been following my food blog then you may remember my nephew Zak. We have collaborated on a couple of recipe videos when I visited him in Louisiana. Click on the recipe names to see our earlier collaborations. Chef Zak's Cajun Style Tuscan Primavera Pasta and Blackened Fish with Sweet Potato Hash (his Mom Brenda, my sister, makes a nagging appearance at the end of the video.)
You know what Nachos are, right? Happy Hour food at it's best. Usually, Nachos are tortilla chips covered in melty cheese, pinto beans, and sometimes taco-style ground beef. A final topping is chopped onion and tomato, or chunky salsa.
My Cajun Nachos are seafood briny and cheesy. I also use a can of Cajun Red Beans.
The overall flavor is like a gooey seafood enchilada, with more crunch from the tortilla chips.
The Red Beans are a tasty touch and add extra heft to fill you up with veggie protein. Red Beans are a nice substitution for typical Mexican-style Pinto Beans. I picked a local Gonzales, Louisiana brand that has a creamy bean sauce.
But you can get the same result by heating up regular Red Beans from the can. Add half of the bean broth and as it gets warm just crush a dozen beans or so. Stir with the bean liquid to make a thick sauce, kinda like Mexican refried beans. You can add more or less bean liquid until you reach the desired creaminess. Of course, just whole beans from the can without a creamy sauce will work as well.
Canned beans are easy to find, even Red Beans. If you want to experiment try Black Beans. Regular Pinto Beans are cheap everywhere. Chili With Beans are 2nd best!
I used a mild shredded white queso or cheese. Any favorite cheese is fine, like cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterrey Jack. I get mine cheap at Dollar Tree and 99c only Stores. I start with a pound of shredded cheese but add as much cheese as you like.
Regular corn Tortilla Chips are cheap enough and you can get hefty servings with just one 8-ounce bag.
Of course, the hardest thing to find is a one-pound package of cooked Crawfish Tails. And while not cheap I gotta break my 99 cent rules sometimes. It's okay to use cheaper small cooked Bay Shrimp. Since you are just heating up Nachos, everything is cooked.
I finally top Cajun Nachos with Creole Seasoning and Louisiana Hot Sauce. These last ingredients are optional and it's okay to use any Hot Sauce if you can take the heat!
As the oven heats up add tortilla chips to a baking pan or dish and layer on the goodies. Pop it in the oven and when the cheese is melty then my Cajun Nachos are ready to eat! Since all the ingredients are cooked you are just heating it up.
My Swamp Chef Cajun Nachos has it all, maybe too much of a good thing, well it's up to you to decide if it's all too much.
Cajun Nachos - Video
Play it here, video runs 5 minutes, 35 seconds.
My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.
- 12 ounces to 1 pound of peeled crawfish - Small bay shrimp are an easy substitution. Of course, you can add any cooked protein like ground chicken or beef.
- 1 can red beans - about 16 ounce can. Mash some beans for a creamy sauce.
- 1 pound cheese - I used white "quesadilla" shredded cheese. Okay to use any melty type like yellow cheddar or white Monterey Jack cheese, even Velvetta.
- 1 package of tortilla chips - about 8 ounces. I used half yellow and blue chips for color. Add enough to make 2 or 3 layers of chips in the baking dish or tray, kinda like a lasagna.
- 2 green onions chopped - optional for a colorful garnish and extra flavor.
- Louisiana Hot Sauce - optional. To taste, okay to use any favorite hot sauce. Add as little or as much as you can handle.
- 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning - optional, and okay to add less, as it's quite salty, like tortilla chips.
Layer chips on a wide baking dish or pan. I pile them on to about 2 or 3 layers.
Next top with red beans and half the cheese.
Add a layer of crawfish tails or bay shrimp...and more cheese!
Finally, sprinkle on Cajun Seasoning, and drizzle a little Hot Sauce (these steps are optional.)
I add extra cheese on top to keep the crawfish tail meat from drying out. I used white shredded cheese, but okay to use easy-to-get cheddar cheese. You can shred or just slice it, or break it into smallish chunks. Add as much cheese as you can afford, it's up to you.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Since crawfish are cooked (or almost cooked,) all you are doing is heating up the beans and melting the cheese.
When the cheese is melted and beans heated through, remove from oven and top with chopped green onions, this gives the dish a vibrant green and white color with a little extra veggie crunch. I've had this without green onion, too.
Serve hot with a cold beverage of your choice!