Bricklayer-style beef, or puntas al albañil, made with tender pieces of beef, salty bacon and sometimes chorizo in a chunky fire-roasted salsa, is a beloved taco filling in Mexico. Once a common snack available near construction sites in central Mexico, it became popular beyond street food stands, expanding into homes and restaurants over the years. Here it’s used as the foundation for nachos, topped with mounds of melted cheese, tangy queso fresco, creamy avocado and crunchy scallions for a hearty, delicious meal.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2pounds ripe Roma tomatoes or 2 (15-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes
- 8ounces thick-cut bacon, thinly sliced
- 8ounces fresh Mexican chorizo, casing removed, coarsely chopped
- 1 ½pounds beef sirloin, excess fat removed, meat cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Kosher or sea salt and black pepper
- 1medium white onion, halved and slivered (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1to 2 jalapeños or serrano chiles, halved, deseeded if desired, and sliced
- 2garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1to 1 1/2 pounds store-bought or Homemade Tortilla Chips (see recipe)
- 12ounces shredded Mexican melty cheese, like Oaxaca, Asadero or quesadilla, or even Monterey Jack or mozzarella (about 3 cups)
- 1ripe avocado, halved, pitted and finely chopped
- 1cup crumbled queso fresco
- 8scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
Step 1If using fresh tomatoes, place them on a small baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Place them under the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through, until charred, mushy and juices have begun to run. Remove from heat. Once cool enough to handle, chop them without discarding any of the juices, seeds or charred skin.
Step 2Heat a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it browns slightly and renders some of its fat, 3 to 4 minutes.
Step 3Add the chorizo to the bacon, and cook, breaking the sausage into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon as it begins to brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.
Step 4Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring a couple times, until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Incorporate the onion and jalapeño and cook until they begin to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant but not browned, less than 1 minute.
Step 5Stir in the fresh or canned chopped tomatoes with their juices and cook over high, stirring occasionally, until saucy, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Step 6Set the rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Place all the tortilla chips in a half sheet pan or large baking sheet in an even layer. Cover the chips with the bricklayer meat mixture and all of its chunky salsa. Cover with the shredded cheese. Bake until cheese has completely melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 7Garnish with the avocado, crumbled queso fresco and scallions. Dig in while hot!