Blackened Chicken Nachos with Black Beans, Pepper Jack Cheese, and Avocado Pico de Gallo | TheHauteMeal.com #recipe #appetizer #nachos

During football season, game days just aren’t the same without a little finger food, and these nachos are great for snacking and sharing. The crisp chips are topped with spicy chicken, black beans, creamy pepper jack mornay sauce, and avocado pico de gallo. They’re a little spicy, a little gooey, and a lot delicious. All you need is cold drinks and a lot of napkins.

Blackened Chicken Breast - Tender and Juicy! | TheHauteMeal.com #recipe #appetizer #nachos

To make preparing the chicken quick and painless, it gets pounded flat so that it cooks evenly. Then it’s smothered in spices and seared quickly so it cooks through without drying out. I recommend that you save preparing it for last, so you’re not tempted to eat all the little tidbits of chicken while you’re making everything else. Not like that was a problem for me or anything like that. *avoids eye contact*

Blackened Chicken Nachos with Black Beans, Pepper Jack Cheese, and Avocado Pico de Gallo | TheHauteMeal.com #recipe #appetizer #nachos

It’s been a while since I posted a shot of my ugly, pink hand, so here’s a little taste so you don’t forget. You’re welcome.

I love how the pepper jack cheese sauce has a little kick, and it’s pretty great all on its own. It could certainly serve as a simple dip, or as the starting point for something more involved – maybe top it with a bit of crispy chorizo and caramelized onions? But nachos first.

Blackened Chicken Nachos with Black Beans, Pepper Jack Cheese, and Avocado Pico de Gallo | TheHauteMeal.com #recipe #appetizer #nachos

Blackened Chicken Nachos
Crisp chips topped with spicy chicken, black beans, creamy pepper jack mornay sauce, and avocado pico de gallo.
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Blackened Chicken
  1. 1 large chicken breast, pounded flat and even
  2. 1 tbsp blackening spice
  3. kosher salt
  4. vegetable oil (for searing), a couple of tsp
Pepper Jack Mornay Sauce
  1. 4 oz Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  2. 1 tbsp butter
  3. 1 tbsp flour
  4. 1 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
  5. 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  6. pinch of cayenne pepper
  7. kosher salt to taste
Avocado Pico de Gallo
  1. 1 medium avocado, seeded and cut into 1/2" pieces
  2. 1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
  3. 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  4. Squeeze of juice from half a fresh lime
  5. Small palmful of roughly chopped cilantro
  6. Splash of pickling juice from the jalapenos (optional)
  7. kosher salt and pepper to taste
Blackening Spice
  1. 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  2. 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  3. 1 tsp each: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper.
  4. 1/2 tsp each: white pepper, black pepper, ground marjoram.
Other Ingredients (for assembly)
  1. Pickled jalapenos, sliced and/or chopped
  2. Tortilla chips
  3. 1/2 cup black beans, canned (don't bother to drain/rinse)
  4. Sour cream
  5. Extra garnishes as desired (hot sauce, cilantro, green onions, etc.)
Blackening spices
  1. Combine the spices in a small bowl. Portion out what you plan to use now, and seal the rest in a plastic baggie for later use.
Avocado pico de gallo
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing them together lightly. Salt and pepper to taste, and set aside to let the flavors meld (no need to refrigerate).
Pepper Jack sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and spices, and stir into the butter. Cook for about a minute, stirring continuously, then pour in the milk, whisking to incorporate the roux into the liquid. Continue to heat, whisking often, until the mixture thickens and comes to a bubble.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until fully melted and incorporated. Season to taste with the kosher salt (I use about 1/4 tsp). Keep warm.
Blackened Chicken
  1. Season the chicken breast on both sides with kosher salt, and heavily coat the breast with the blackening spices. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Pan fry the breast on one side for about 2-3 minutes or until well-browned, then flip the breast and continue to cook on the other side until also nicely browned. Remove the chicken to a plate and tent loosely with foil until you're ready to assemble the nachos.
  3. Place the beans in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Warm in the microwave for about 1 minute.
To assemble
  1. Slice the chicken breast into bite-size pieces. Arrange the chips on a plate, and top with the warm black beans and half the chopped chicken. Drizzle on as much cheese as you like, and then top with the rest of the chicken, some pico, the jalapenos, and sour cream.
  2. Garnish as desired with extra onion, cilantro, and/or hot sauce.
  3. Chow down!
Notes
  1. I've included a recipe for blackening spice, but feel free to use a store-bought spice mix.
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