Father’s Day is an often neglected holiday and, being the Daddy’s girl that I am, you’ve got to feel a little apologetic after giving mom a lovely bouquet and breakfast in bed just a month beforehand. The fact of the matter is: dad’s are just more difficult to shop for. So this year why not cook up something special for dear old dad. A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, after all. Not that I’m suggested your father won’t love you otherwise, I just think it might be nice to feed him something delicious.
When I think about my father (in terms of food), two things come to mind: chili and nachos. I know, it’s total dude food. It’s kind of like if you asked my dad what his favorite holiday meal was, he’d say the Superbowl Sunday spread.
Typically, my dad eats these two things separately, which got me thinking: why not combine them to make a Father’s Day mega-meal. Yes, this is how my brain works.
Since I love my dad and I want him around for a very, very long time, I chose to swap out your typical ground beef for a combination of ground turkey and bison meat. For those of you who’ve never tried bison: do it. It’s much leaner than ground beef and just as flavorful; perhaps more so, depending on who you’re talking to. I also like to include beans and peppers in my chili to give some extra heft and chunkiness.
The combination of meats simmered with tomatoey goodness and perfectly eyeballed amounts of herbs and spices are ridiculously comforting. For bonus points, throw in a jalapeno cut in half to the pot. My dad grows them in our vegetable garden and they add the perfect amount of kick to this chili. Just to forewarn though: you will need cumin for this recipe, so if you don’t have any (and, really, how could you not?) go get some now. Don’t finish reading this until you’ve gotten back and make sure it’s never missing from your pantry again.
As for the nachos: it’s all about the cheese. Since this meal opts for chili as a topping, there’s no need to get all fancy with extras during the baking process. So bust out the good cheddar, monterey jack, or whatever delicious cheese your dad prefers. And be generous. Fathers deserve a nice helping of gooey cheese on their special day.
Chrysanthe is a senior at Smith College who shares an off-campus apartment with her best friend. She enjoys bad television, good beer, and discount shopping with her Dad.
Father’s Day Chili Nachos
For the Chili
~ 1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
.5 lb ground turkey
.5 lb ground bison
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed/diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp dried cilantro
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
optional: 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped in half
1. Coat the bottom of a large pot with ~ 1 tbsp of olive oil and, turning the stove on medium-high, add the chopped onion and bell pepper, allowing them to simmer until the onion is translucent. Add in the ground turkey and bison, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon and letting it brown.
2. Once the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the crushed/diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Give the pot a nice stir, lower the stove to medium heat, and then gently add in the kidney beans.
3. Add all seasonings: garlic powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cilantro, cumin, celery salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir until thoroughly incorporated. You may adjust the amount of each seasoning to your taste. Now lower the heat a bit more and let your chili simmer for about 20 minutes, giving it the occasional stir.
4. If you prefer a spicier chili (as my family does), feel free to add in a jalapeno pepper that has been chopped in half (width-wise, not length-wise). There’s no need to remove the seeds, simply let it rest in the pot as your chili simmers so the flavor diffuses, much like you would a bay leaf.
For the Nachos
8 ounces tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
2. Lay out your dad’s favorite tortilla chips in a single layer on a baking sheet. For easy clean up, line the sheet with aluminum foil beforehand.
3. Distribute the shredded cheese you’ve chosen evenly over the chips.
4. Place the tray in the oven, allowing them to bake until the cheese has melted and begins to bubble (about 5 min).
Now, to serve up the chili nachos, place the Nachos in a bowl, preferably one that is shallow and wide. Spoon the desired amount of chili over the nachos and serve immediately (so that the chips don’t get soggy) with a side of sour cream, guacamole, and a hug for dad! Although the hug may have to wait until after they’ve finished; fathers generally don’t like to be disturbed while eating.
If you want to make fewer nachos or have leftover chili afterwards, bake the nachos with the chili already placed on top. Some of the chips will probably get soggy by the time you get to the bottom, but it’ll be just as delicious.