Spiced Turkey Nachos with Homemade Cheese Sauce and ''Crisper Drawer'' Salsa

Variety is the spice of life, and sometimes ground beef nachos and vegetarian nachos ask for the night off. I like making nachos with ground dark meat chicken but even more so with turkey. The turkey takes on the spices as it cooks and melds nicely with the richness of the cheese sauce. I opened my fridge one day and made a salsa from what was hanging around in the crisper drawer. There were no tomatoes, jalapeno or cilantro, so I came up with the crunchier, brighter salsa below. You can make all the components of these nachos in advance then heat and serve when you're ready. You will notice repeat ingredients in the different parts of this recipe. This makes the recipe look more complex than it is, but the taste is worth it! PS - I never say no to a big bowl of guacamole to go with this…. You can also do a plate of fried or scrambled eggs on the side and serve this nacho platter as a Mexican breakfast!
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Cheese Sauce:

1 cup whole milk

1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco

1 small clove garlic, minced

Turkey:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 scallions, minced, green and white parts

4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

1 pound ground turkey

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salsa:

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon pickle juice

2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco

3 small carrots, peeled, cut into thin rounds

5 to 6 small inner stalks celery plus leaves, thinly sliced

5 to 6 scallions, minced, green and white parts

4 to 5 radishes, cut into thin rounds

Kosher salt

Serve:

4 to 5 cups corn tortilla chips

1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream, optional

Additional salsa, optional

Cilantro leaves, optional

Directions

  1. Make the cheese sauce: In a medium pot, bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in the cheese and season with salt to taste. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cool water until it becomes a smooth paste. Whisk the paste into the cheese sauce. Cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire, hot sauce and garlic. Taste for seasoning. Shut off the heat. Keep warm.
  2. Cook the turkey: In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, add the scallions, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the turkey in a thin layer and season with salt. Sprinkle with the chili powder and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the meat browns and cooks through, 8 to 10 minutes. Shut off the heat. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Make the salsa: In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime zest and juice, pickle juice and hot sauce. Toss in the carrots, celery, scallions and radishes with a generous pinch salt. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Serve: Spread the tortilla chips in an even layer on a baking sheet that can double as a serving platter. Warm the chips in the oven for a few minutes as you heat up the meat. Remove the chips from the oven and spoon the meat all over the chips. Top with spoonfuls of the salsa. Pour cheese sauce over top and sprinkle with jalapeno slices. Serve immediately with sour cream, additional salsa and cilantro (if using) on the side.
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