Sweet Potato Skillet Nachos with Avocado Crema / by Chelsea Zwieg

Word on the street is, it's football season. Now, I won't lie to you. The interest that I have in football ranks somewhere near my interest in being run over by a car. I have a hard time feigning interest in men with tight pants and enormous shoulders tackling each other for a ball. But hey, sit Aaron Rodgers in front of a computer and tell him to write a food blog and I'm sure he'd laugh for days. We all have our interests. There is one sport by-product I can get behind though, and that is football food. 

I've already waxed rhapsodic about that perfection of all snack foods, taco dip. But a close, close second in the snack hall of fame is nachos. Everything you love, piled onto chips and covered in melty cheese. Yes and amen to that. (Let the record show that I originally typed 'Touchdown' in response to this nacho poetry and then quickly deleted it, repented and vowed to never embarrass myself in the name of sports puns again. You're welcome.) 

These nachos are made with sweet potato chips instead of tortilla chips because a) you can make your own and season them however you want and b) everything is better with sweet potatoes. Just ask french fries. I then topped them with barbecue chicken, jalapeños, tomatoes, olives, avocado and enough cheese to make a cow tip over. After being baked until their bubbling it all gets finished off with a light, cooling avocado crema.

So whether next Sunday finds you watching football or actively avoiding it (it really does take work sometimes), nachos should definitely be included in the festivities. Happy snacking! 

BBQ Sweet Potato Skillet Nachos with Avocado Crema

Makes 1 8" skillet

| Ingredients | 

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 cup shredded chicken (you can use any leftovers on hand, a rotisserie chicken or bake 1 chicken breast at 350 for 30-35 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup black olives
  • 1/4 cup jalapeño slices 
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup gouda cheese, diced

| Instructions | 

  • Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray 2 rimmed baking sheets with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  • Thinly slice sweet potatoes using a mandolin slicer or sharp knife. (Cutting my first 2 test batches with a knife had me prowling the aisles at Target for a mandolin the very next day. But my mandolin test batch had me sporting a very bloody finger. Moral of the story: either works. Just be smarter than me.) Toss potato slices with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice. I kept it simple with salt and pepper but chili powder, cayenne or even a little garlic salt would be wonderful. Bake 20 minutes, flipping potatoes half way through, until edges begin to brown. They will finish crisping after they are removed from the oven. 
  • Meanwhile, combine sour cream, lime juice and 1/2 of the avocado in a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth. Transfer crema to a small container and store in the refrigerator. 
  • Combine shredded chicken and barbecue sauce until chicken is evenly coated. I find that this is easiest to do in a small skillet over low heat because the sauce will coat the chicken easier. But if you don't want to dirty a skillet, a bowl will do the trick. 
  • After chips have cooled and crisped, arrange 1/3 of the chips in a single layer on the bottom of an 8" cast iron skillet (or a similarly sized baking dish). Top with 1/3 of the chicken, black olives, tomato, jalapeño, avocado and cheese. Repeat layers until ingredients are used up. Top with additional cheese. Bake (at 400, still) 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Drizzle avocado crema over the top and serve.