Editor’s Note: After the first ever Constantly Cooking guest post was so well received, we knew we wanted to do more. Opportunity knocked when Paula Roy’s son Nick became involved in some nacho shenanigans. The competition was fierce, and the results were delicious.
When it comes to ranking our daily meals, I’m firmly in the “breakfast is the best meal of the day” camp. There’s such endless possibilities about what we can do for breakfasts that we’ve only just begun to explore the boundaries of the known breakfast universe. My love of breakfast recently took me on an exciting adventure which I was happy to share with a few people; we embarked on the inaugural Great Breakfast Nacho Competition on the evening of June 7th. It was a fun and busy night in a cramped Glebe apartment kitchen, and I’m very pleased to be sharing the results of this experiment!
The genesis of “Breakfast Nachos” as a competition began after mentioning the concept of the breakfast nacho to my girlfriend, Chelsea, not long after we started dating; she even made me a special custom shirt as a gift for Valentine’s Day, knowing full well my love of breakfast cuisines and nachos of all shapes and sizes.
After she’d mentioned her gift to a few close friends, the competitive aspect of Breakfast Nachos was thus born. A lot of planning and scheming and trash-talking took place, and a few weeks after Chelsea returned home from vacation in Jordan, four of us embarked on the inaugural Great Breakfast Nacho Competition!
The judge for this competition was Chelsea’s roommate Andrew, an experienced line cook at a number of locations throughout Ottawa, most notably at the new Mulligan’s, downtown. With a seasoned pro in the world of food, expectations were high on both sides of the table as we set out to prepare.
There were three entries in all: a joint effort from Chelsea and her friend Kat, with whom she recently vacationed in Jordan (the importance of this fact will be explained shortly), their friend Megan, and myself. Despite our preconceived ideas of nachos and the elements that typically define them, each ended up being wildly different in the end, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise, and, as it turns out, a rather large challenge in getting through eating all three trays by the end of the evening. It was also a challenge having four cooks working in a small apartment kitchen, but no injuries were inflicted or sustained.
The first entry we tried was a Jordanian variety of nachos from Chelsea & Kat; as it turns out, it’s common fashion to use Doritos in place of regular corn tortilla chips when making nachos in Jordan. This entry was meatless, but did have generous amounts of onion, pepper, olive, tomato, and cheese topping the typical Nacho Cheese flavoured Doritos. Surprisingly, the usually-strong flavour of plain Doritos was actually restrained when it was accompanied by their creation’s toppings and the accompanying salsa and sour cream.
Megan’s entry was probably the most “standard” concept of what the average person would constitute as breakfast nachos; tortilla chips with diced bacon bits, eggs, green pepper, onion, tomato and cheese, with one other noteworthy addition – diced home-fried potatoes. I was actually skeptical at first of this, but due to the fine nature of the dicing, actually fit really nicely with the rest of the ingredients, and ended up adding some extra crunch to each bite without compromising the overall structural integrity of the nacho pile.
Finally, I decided to head in a different manner with my own nachos, and chose to do my own variety of the traditional Mexican chilequiles. This sees traditional salsa replaced with a beef-bean chili; mine included generous helpings of onion, tomato, paprika, and chili powder as well. For the “breakfast” element, I opted for scrambled eggs, which contained a sriracha-garlic hot sauce for some added kick. The chili and eggs were topped with shredded cheddar, to which I added some diced green onion, cilantro and lime juice after the tray came out of the oven.
All in all, this competition was taken a lot more seriously by all competitors than I had initially anticipated, which I think was to everyone’s benefit, as each one of the nachos turned out to be delicious in their own regard! After much deliberation, however, Andrew ultimately judged the Mexican chilequiles to be the winner out of all three entries, citing his fondness for beans in chili and a generous amount of heat as the deciding factors in his ruling. As the 2016 Great Breakfast Nacho Champion, I am already looking forward to next year’s competition, and can’t wait to see some of the new ideas that will be coming forward from all competitors…