Welcome to On Board in 20: a recipe series where we share wholesome, 20-minute meals that are shared family style. The recipes always contain whole food ingredients and are intended to be brought to the table for family members to build and construct their individual plates as their senses guide them. Along the way, we bring you tips and tricks for speeding up prep and clean up for those busy weeknight meal times. This month it's 20 minute recipe for Thai Nachos with Crispy Pork.
September marks the start of two very big events in our household: back to school and football season. That means breaking out brand new calendars and filling them with school schedules, extra curricular activities, work schedules and, of course, our favourite football team's game schedule. The reality is there are going to be several weeknights over the next four months where we will be running from school to some activity and back home just in time for kickoff. Seems like a perfect excuse for nachos!
Nachos for dinner is not something new in our house, but I definitely had some mom-guilt over whether they really constitute a healthy meal. But with a few adjustments, at the end of the day these Thai nachos with crispy pork simply become a deconstructed wrap, overflowing with protein, vegetables and flavour.
Instead of going traditional Mexican, I went with a fresh Thai flavour profile. I chose a 60 percent whole wheat flour tortilla to use as the chip base. To save time you could definitely just use a bag of nacho chips. but I like not only the nutritional content of the tortilla, but also how firm of a chip baking it produces.
One of the time-saving keys to this month's Thai Nachos with Crispy Pork is being able to use some of the ingredients in more than one part of the recipe. In this case, the pork and the dipping sauce are both flavoured with the same inputs. Also, by putting the flavours in the bottom of a bowl and then adding the ground pork, you only handle the raw meat once, limiting hand washing. Using a grater for both cheese and carrots (and iceberg lettuce would also be a great addition in this recipe) makes for quick chopping. And try not to pull the pork off too soon; those dark crispy bits are flavour heaven once they hit the melted cheese and nutty tahini.
It took a lot of restraint to not call this 20-minute meal “Holy Sheet Pan Nachos,” but not everyone gets my jokes so I refrained. As you head into this busy back-to-school season, I hope these Thai Nachos with Crispy Pork make it into your weeknight rotation. If Thai is not for you, maybe try Italian (ground beef, basil, oregano, fresh tomato) or Greek (ground lamb, feta, onion, tzatziki). The combinations are endless.
- 7 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons fish sauce, divided
- 2 limes
- 500 grams ground pork
- 10 flour tortillas (10 inch size)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (for drizzling)
- ¾ cup tahini
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella, grated
- 2 large carrots
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- Garnish: red chilles and limes
- Preheat a heavy cast iron pan over high heat and preheat broiler with rack in the top third position. Prepare two baking sheets with sheets of parchment.
- In a medium size bowl, add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and the juice of half a lime. Add the ground pork to the same bowl and combine with your hands until the soy mixture and pork are well combined. Put ground pork into the hot cast iron and press down firmly. The pork will need about 8 minutes total. At about the four minute mark, scrape the pork from the bottom of the pan. Try not to stir too often to ensure a flavourful, crispy crust.
- Place the ten tortillas in a stack on a cutting board. Cutting through all ten at once, make four cuts, giving you 8 triangles per tortilla for a total of 80 chips. Scatter the chips evenly over the two sheets, overlapping as little as possible. Drizzle with olive oil and place in oven under broiler. THE CHIPS WILL BURN QUICKLY. Start the timer or just watch them; about three minutes per side is all they need. Remove from oven, keeping them on the sheet pans.
- Make the sauce: Combine the tahini with 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, and the juice from the other half of the lime. Combine well with a fork and add a little water if the sauce is too thick. You want to be able to drizzle it over the chips and have some remaining for dipping.
- Prepare the toppings: Using the same grater, grate the cheese first, then grate the 2 large carrots. Set aside. Thinly slice some red onion, and roughly chop the green onion, both the green and white parts. Using scissors, cut the leaves off a small bunch of cilantro. Lightly rinse the bean sprouts.
- To assemble: Take one of the sheets of toasted tortilla chips and add sprinkle with half of the cheese, pork, red and green onion and carrot. Add the second sheet pan of tortillas and top with remaining cheese, pork, onions and carrots. Put the sheet pan back under broiler for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and top with bean sprouts and cilantro.
- To serve: slide the parchment off the sheet pan onto a board. Garnish with the second lime, quartered, and red chilles.
Cut one lime in half and, using a reamer, juice one half directly into the pork and one half directly into the sauce.
Basil and mint are two other fresh herbs that could be added or used in place of the cilantro.
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Lisa Bolton is the creator, writer and photographer behind Food Well Said, her blog about bringing thoughtfully prepared, whole food recipes. She lives in the Lower Mainland of BC and you can reach her on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.