Thursday, March 15, 2012

Irish Nachos

The Setting: Evening rain showers.

The Soundtrack: House Hunters International.

On the Stove-top: Pork Schnitzel and Parmesan-Buttered Whole Wheat Spaetzle.

The Scenario: Getting into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day!

Here in South Bend, home of the Fighting Irish, you'll see a lot of "Irish Nachos" in the appetizer sections of local restaurants's menus.

Sometimes featuring potato chips and sometimes featuring fries, the "Irish" in Irish nachos refers to a potato-based stand-in for tortilla chips in a mound of nachos with the traditional toppings.

To celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I thought it would be fun to amp up the Irish just a bit, replacing the standard nacho mix with aged Irish cheddar, lamb sausage from a local Irish pub, and a zesty, vibrant green sauce.

Irish Nachos
1 (22 oz) bag frozen waffle fries
8 oz lamb sausage
salt and pepper
6 oz sharp Irish cheddar, shredded
1 cup (very loosely packed) fresh cilantro
1 cup (very loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 dgrees F. Empty the waffle fries onto a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

While fries are in the oven, crumble and brown the sausage. Drain and set aside.

Puree cilantro, parsley, garlic, jalapenos, and olive oil with an immersion blender or small food processor. Set aside.

Take fries out of the oven and season with salt and pepper. Leave the oven on. Place 1/3 of the fries in a small casserole dish.

Cover with 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 of the lamb sausage. Repeat layers twice with remaining fries, cheese, and sausage.

Place the casserole in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp the fries.

Drizzle the jalapeno sauce over the fries, and dig in!

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.