Nothing says Cinco de Mayo quite like a large baking dish filled to the brim with layer after layer of crispy chips, gooey cheese and all the classic nacho toppings. The only way to up this crowd-friendly feast is to add tender pieces of chipotle- and lime-marinated pork, turning a classic appetizer into the main event. Consider it done—and in 30 minutes nonetheless.
Pork tenderloin has been my protein of choice lately (See: The Tour de Tenderloin), and I find I’m turning to the lean meat time and time again not only because of its versatility, but also for its ease of preparation. Add chopped chipotles and tangy citrus to the mix and all you’re missing is a chilled, salt-rimmed margarita to host the ultimate fiesta for your taste buds. Or even better yet, a batch of Strawberry Margarita Ice Pops.
The Ultimate Chipotle Pork Nachos
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 25 min
1 (1- to 1½-pound) pork tenderloin (See Kelly's Notes)
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 chipotles in adobo, or more to taste, chopped
6 ounces (or about half of 1 large bag) tortilla chips
1½ cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack or a mix)
3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup sliced black olives
3/4 cup store-bought or homemade guacamole
3/4 cup store-bought or homemade salsa
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped scallions, green parts only
Whisk together the lime juice, garlic, cumin, vegetable oil and chopped chipotles with ½ teaspoon salt. Rub the marinade all over the pork tenderloin and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 475ºF.
Roast the tenderloin on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the tenderloin registers a minimum of 145ºF for medium-rare.
Remove the tenderloin from the oven, transfer it to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into bite-sized pieces. Reduce oven to 400ºF.
Assemble the nachos by layering chips with cheese, black beans, olives and cubes of tenderloin in an oven-safe 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake nachos for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted.
Remove nachos from oven and top with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve immediately.
There are two secrets to moist pork tenderloin: don't overcook it and always remove the silverskin prior to roasting. Trim all silverskin (the shiny, fibrous skin) using a sharp knife and long, gliding strokes, avoiding cutting off any of the actual muscle.