Saint Patrick's Day is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate. But while there's never any problem staying... er... "hydrated" during this time, festive food requires some creativity.
Traditional Irish cuisine presents us with such favorites as corned beef and cabbage, beef stew, cottage pie, and various other combinations of beef and potato. It's not a lot to work with. But what if we could repurpose the flavors from another cuisine—in this case, Tex-Mex—but keep the aesthetic strictly Irish?
That's where the Pot of Gold with Shamrock Chips recipe comes from. It's a classic chili con queso—that's the "Pot of Gold," get it?—but we're going to fry up some festive shamrock chips to stay on theme. You'll need a slow cooker, a slotted spoon, the ingredients listed below, plus one very special item: a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter. Try local arts and crafts stores, but if that doesn't work, you can always find a cheap shamrock cookie cutter on Amazon.
1. Make some "Pot of gold" queso.
The first step is to make the queso, and for this you'll want to ignore every piece of nutrition advice you've ever heard and just use Velveeta. Nothing else melts down in the same smooth, clump-free way that this processed cheese product does, and there's really no substitute. Chop up two bricks into 1-inch blocks so they melt quickly, then dump them in a slow cooker.
On top of that goes a diced white onion, one or two diced jalapeño peppers depending on how much spice you prefer (and wear gloves if you don't want your hands to burn later), and two of our favorite canned staples: a couple cans of green chiles and a 10 oz. can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles. You can find both of those near the taco kits at the supermarket.
Set up your slow cooker on the kitchen table or wherever you plan to serve, and set it to low.
2. Shape your shamrock chips.
Now let's make the shamrocks. Stack two or three spinach tortillas at a time and, using the all-important shamrock cookie cutter, cut out your shapes. You'll get about five to seven chips per tortilla. Set them aside.
3. Fry 'em up.
Working in batches and without crowding the pan, fry the tortilla shapes in oil for one or two minutes until slightly golden but still green, flipping often. Your job, from now until the last shamrock is fried up, is to keep that oil as close to 350°F as possible, so be vigilant (and maybe use a deep fry thermometer!)
After about two minutes, each chip should be turning gold around the edges. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shamrocks to a plate or wire rack lined with paper towels. Season them with salt. Repeat until all your chips are fried.
By now your pot of gold queso should be fully melted—if not just give it a good stir and turn up the slow cooker. And don't forget to decorate your "pot" with tacky, festive accouterments. We used a couple of Irish flags and some fake gold coins.
4. Feel free to bake instead for a healthier option
Oh, and if deep frying's not your thing, it's easy to bake these chips instead. 375°F for five minutes should do it. Use a wire rack and brush each chip with olive oil beforehand. Again, season with salt immediately after cooking.