Thanksgiving nachos will make you actually crave turkey

Graphic: Allison Corr

Welcome to Snacksgiving, where we bring you classic Thanksgiving dishes in the form of poppable, dippable, shareable bites.


Here’s the deal with turkey: If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, three slices of the dry stuff probably doesn’t endear you to it. Either way, turkey-topped nachos might become your favorite way to eat the bird. Prepared in a pressure cooker with roasted tomatoes, garlic, and adobo, the meat becomes juicy and flavorful—think of every good chicken taco you’ve eaten.

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No single ingredient in this recipe brings only one flavor to the table: Cranberry pickled red onions are sweet, tangy, and fresh. Adobo crema adds richness, spice, and helps gel the various nacho layers together. Sweet potato and black bean salsa adds cumin-scented earthiness, a bit of jalapeno heat, and oven-roasted caramelization. Build these components atop each other, and each bite of nachos offers familiar Thanksgiving elements taken to new levels of flavor—no fork and knife required, either.

Of course, if you already have leftover turkey from the big meal, these nachos are a great way to repurpose the meat. (No matter how much we look forward to them every year, there are only so many turkey-and-stuffing sandwiches we can stomach.) Turkey nachos offer ample opportunities for tweaking and adjustment based on your preferences and ingredients on hand… just don’t leave out the cranberry pickled onions.



Photo: Allison Robicelli
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Thanksgiving Turkey Nachos

Serves 8

Turkey Tinga

  • 1 (4-6 lb.) turkey breast
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (24-oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 canned chipotle peppers, packed in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. reserved adobo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large white onion

Cranberry Pickled Onions

  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large (or 2 small) bay leaf

Roasted New World Salsa

  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. corriander
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Juice one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. cranberry pickling liquid

Adobo Crema

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2-4 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp. reserved adobo sauce, plus more to taste

To Serve

  • 2 bags blue corn tortilla chips
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

Turkey

Remove the skin from the turkey breast. Cut all the meat off the turkey carcass (don’t worry about being pretty with it), then wrap up the skin and carcass and put them away for making stock another day. Roughly cut up the turkey into large-ish cubes and set aside.

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Using the sauté function on the Instant Pot, cook the garlic for a minute or two until golden, then turn it off. (If you don’t have an Instant Pot, see note below.) Add the tomatoes, chopped chipotles, salt, oregano, water, and turkey; use your hands to mush everything around to coat well. Split the white onion in half, peel off the skin, and tuck both halves into the pot with the turkey mix.

Set the Instant Pot to cook at 10 minutes on high pressure, followed by a natural release (about 10 minutes).

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Remove the turkey to a plate. Strain the reserved liquid into a bowl, discarding the onion and any overly lumpy bits that cannot be pushed through a sieve. When the turkey is cool enough to handle, shred roughly, then add to the bowl of cooking liquid to keep moist.

Note: If you do not have an Instant Pot, you can simmer the turkey on the stove in a Dutch Oven. Follow the instructions as given, add enough water to cover by at least one inch, then simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or so until it shreds easily, then reduce cooking liquid to about 2 cups.

Cranberry Pickled Onions

In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and bay leaf to a boil. Turn off heat, then stir in red onion and cranberries (the liquid won’t completely cover them at first—that’s okay). Cover and set aside for 10 minutes, then stir again, making sure everything is submerged. Let pickle for at least another 10 minutes before serving. Can be made several days in advance.

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Roasted New World Salsa

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the sweet potatoes, onion, and jalapeno with the canola oil and a hefty pinch of salt. Spread out across a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using a spatula, stir in corn, cumin, and coriander, then again spread out across the pan and roast for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing burns. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

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In a bowl, toss the roasted vegetables, black beans, olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, and pickling liquid from the cranberry pickled onions. Taste for seasoning and adjust, adding salt, more pickling liquid, additional spices, or whatever else you please. It’s your salsa.

Adobo Crema

Whisk together the sour cream and adobo sauce, adding milk a bit at a time to thin it out enough to make it drizzle-able. You can add more adobo sauce, too, if you’d like yours to be a bit spicier.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.

Allison Robicelli

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, host of The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, the author of three books, and a swan meat influencer.