When my husband and I started planning our Anniversary getaway weekend to a cabin just outside of Mt. Ranier Nat’l park, the first thing I started doing was planning the menu. Because... priorities, right? We headed out about 2 hours away for three days to a private cabin in the middle of the woods with absolutely no cell range, Wifi, or cable, but you’d better believe I brought my food processor, kitchen aid mixer, and waffle iron with us. Again, Priorities. Basically this weekend getaway was all the things my husband loves about camping (i.e. being alone in nature, smelling that fresh mountain air, being off the grid) combined with all the things I love about not camping (running hot water, a toilet, a bed off the ground, and a full kitchen). Win/ Win.
So after seeing the photo for Tex-Mex Breakfast Waffle Nachos on Bon Appetit a few weeks prior, it was the first thing added to the “getaway weekend” menu and it was truly the standout meal of the trip. I read all the reviews about what people loved and didn’t love about how the waffles in particular came out and tweaked the recipe accordingly. I think I was able to troubleshoot accurately because these came out perfectly!
Lets just break it down here together so you know what a treat you're in for:
The bottom layer is a savory cornmeal waffle, with a hint of heat from ancho chili, that also has BACON and TEQUILA in it. Then you sauté some jalapeños and garlic in some reserved bacon fat, add some honey and vinegar and pinch of salt and this becomes a sweet, spicy, smoky, syrupy sauce that you pour on top, along with melty cheese, and all your breakfast-meets-nachos toppings of choice…fried eggs, cilantro, green onion, and avocado to name a few but really, you could go wild. You could fry up all the bacon you have and put it inside the waffles AND on top. You could do the same with sweet corn. Honestly the waffles are fantastic just on their own.
This single-sheet pan of joy is a total crowd pleaser, (even though to be fair my crowd was just one human. But he was really, really excited about them). Though it may sound like a heavy meal, these aren’t as rich as they seem, they aren't greasy in the slightest and the fresh toppings and vegetables on top give it a satisfying crunch and serve to lighten and brighten the meal up a bit. I recommend leaving the yolks on the eggs a little runny so they break into the waffle grooves, but hey, what do I know.
There are a few different elements to make, so it takes about an hour, but perfect for a leisurely morning or Sunday brunch. As a suggestion to manage time, make the waffle batter first since it needs to sit for at least 20 mins for the cornmeal to soak in the liquid. While its resting, you can chop your toppings and make the jalapeño sauce. Then once you start cooking your waffles, you only have to fry your eggs and you are ready to assemble when the last waffle is done.
Regarding Tequila: I am no tequila connoisseur. I say use any kind you have. Añejo, Reposado, Blanco, Gold…. I don’t know if it matters that much in the batter, so I wouldn’t recommend using your highest quality. True story, I sent the hubby to find a “liquor store” to buy an “airplane size” bottle of “cheap tequila” while I went grocery shopping because I knew I only needed a few tablespoons for this recipe. He returned from this mission with an entire bottle of Patron Silver from Safeway because he went in to buy me an anniversary card and wanted to save himself from having to hunt down another store. So I used really nice tequila in these because ironically, it’s all I had, but you certainly don’t have to. Anyone else have a husband that they can’t send into grocery stores because they totally panic and don’t look at prices AT ALL because they just want to bust outta there? :-)
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
FOR THE WAFFLES:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tbs ancho chili powder
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbs Tequila
1 egg, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
4-5 slices bacon, cooked, chopped into bits with 2 Tbs fat reserved
3/4 cup water
FOR THE TOPPINGS:
2 Tbs reserved bacon fat
3 red jalapeños or fresno chilis, seeded and sliced (or leave seeds in if you want it spicier)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped or thinly sliced
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
8-10 oz preferred melting cheese, shredded (such as sharp cheddar, monterey jack, jalapeño jack, or a pre-packaged blend)
4 eggs, fried— or one per person
Various nacho toppings of choice, such as but not limited to:
additional bacon pieces, avocado, green onion, thinly sliced radishes, corn kernels, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, etc.
WHAT YOU'LL DO
Combine the flour, cornmeal, ancho chile powder, sugar, baking powder, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, Mix the tequila, egg, and 3/4 cup water and add to the cornmeal dry mix until just combined. Add in the chopped bacon pieces.
Using a mixer, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold it into the cornmeal batter until no streaks remain. Let batter rest for at least 20 minutes in the fridge to hydrate the cornmeal.
Heat the 2 tbs of reserved bacon drippings in a smallish skillet over medium heat; cook the jalapeños and garlic, stirring often until tender, about 3 minutes. Add in the honey, vinegar, and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and maintain until mixture is thick and syrupy, maybe another 2 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
Start chopping and prepping all the toppings if your batter is still resting so they are ready to go once the waffles are done.
Preheat the oven to 200°. Heat your waffle iron till its nice and hot or indicates that it’s ready, spray it with your cooking oil of choice, and cook your waffles. (I have a round Belgian flip waffle iron and I had just the right amount of batter to make 4 large, full waffles, which I then broke up into 16 individual quarter pieces on the tray to make the nachos). They should have golden, crisped edges but still be soft inside. Transfer the waffles as they are done to the warm oven, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet so they keep warm in oven and air can circulate around them while you cook remaining batter (the waffles might appear limp, but will crisp up and dry out a little as they sit).
By your second-to-last waffle, start to fry your eggs so they are done and set them aside to keep warm so you can be ready to top your nachos immediately after they broil.
Remove waffles from oven and now heat your broiler to high. Cut your waffles into triangles (or separate rounds into quarters) and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with shredded cheeses and broil until cheese is melted and exposed parts of waffles are darkened considerably, about 2 minutes. Stay nearby and keep close watch for this part.
Top the nachos with eggs, avocado, green onion, radishes, cilantro, hot sauce, and the honey-garlic-jalapeño mixture, including the syrupy part. Dig in IMMEDIATELY!
Serves 4 easily, unless you are like my husband and I, where we ate about 3 servings between the two of us for brunch and finished the remaining serving as a midnight snack later that same day, in which case this serves two people who enjoy stuffing themselves. So no judgement here. These are really really good.
Adapted from this recipe from Bon Appetite