Today's mega-nachos are tomorrow's breakfast soup
Stephanie Izard's Machos Nachos
Credit: Photo by Frank X. Bernal Jr

You will not waste food on Stephanie Izard's watch. If you're sitting down to a feast at any of the Chicago native's extraordinarily popular restaurants (which include Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat) you'll do your level best to finish every last bite, but sometimes there's just more than you can finish. You can tote home a doggie bag, and at home, your own cooked leftovers can obviously go into the fridge, but then, can you swear they won't just sit there? Izard teamed up with Morton Salt's Erase Food Waste campaign to develop recipes that take on a whole new life the next day.

Izard visited Extra Crispy HQ to show her full-coverage nachos technique (based on the Machos Nachos she serves at Little Goat) and then transform them into a chilaquiles(ish) soup for a hearty morning meal.

Homemade Machos Nachos

Stephanie Izard Makes Machos Nachos
Credit: Photo Frank X. Bernal Jr

Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8

Nachos are a favorite dish for party snacking, but the leftovers can be difficult to reheat properly, so they are often tossed out. Intercept that extra plate of nachos from winding up in the trash by giving them a second life as the main ingredient for a tasty tortilla soup.


1 pound 80/20 ground beef*
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained
1 packet chili seasoning mix
1½ tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 large bag sturdy tortilla chips
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (save a small amount to garnish tortilla soup)
1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped (save a small amount to garnish tortilla soup)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup sour cream
1 cup pickled peppers (recipe below)
4 cups cheese sauce (recipe below)

For pickled peppers:

Yields 1 cup

1 pound Hungarian sweet peppers, Anaheim or banana peppers, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1/3 cup sugar

For cheese sauce:

Yields 4 cups

¼ cup or half stick unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt


Cooking the ground beef:

1. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add a small amount of oil and begin to sweat onions for 2 minutes. They won’t be fully cooked yet, but beginning to turn translucent.

2. Crumble ground beef into pan and use a whisk to break up the beef. It’s a great technique for breaking ground meat into small pieces.

3. Allow to brown for 5 minutes before tossing and breaking up more.

4. Season with coarse sea salt the entire way through the cooking process.

5. Once meat is fully browned, strain off any excess fat and discard.

6. Add black beans and toss to incorporate.

7. Add chili seasoning packet and toss again. Taste for seasoning and salt if necessary.

*For a vegetarian option, swap out the ground beef for one can kidney beans and one can garbanzo beans. Sauté the onions and warm the beans with the cooked onions, tossed in chili seasoning mix.

Make the cheese aauce

1. In a medium pot, melt butter.

2. Whisk in flour and allow to cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.

3. Whisk in cream and milk and allow to thicken. Continue whisking until smooth.

4. As soon as milk mix thickens enough that the whisk leaves lines on the surface, add shredded cheese.

5. Whisk for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts and is smooth and creamy.

6. Season with coarse sea salt.

7. Add to nachos immediately or keep warm over very low heat and whisk regularly.

Make the pickled peppers

1. Heat vinegar, salt and sugar in a small saucepan until just bubbling.

2. Whisk to dissolve solids.

3. Place sliced peppers in a heat resistant container and pour liquid over.

4. Weigh peppers down with a small plate and allow to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

5. Peppers are now ready for use in nachos recipe or will last in brine, in the refrigerator, for several weeks.

Assemble the nachos

1. To build nachos, place an even layer of tortilla chips on a large rimmed plate.

2. Sprinkle roughly one quarter of the cooked beef mix over the chips.

3. Top with a sprinkle of roughly one quarter of tomatoes and pickled peppers

4. Drizzle with one cup of the cheese sauce and top with a few dollops of sour cream and a sprinkle of herbs.

5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 three times to create three more layers.

6. Save remaining nachos, fully built on the plate, in refrigerator for next day tortilla soup (see recipe below).

Next Day Tortilla Soup

Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 people


48 oz unsalted chicken stock
1 leftover plate of nachos
Leftover shredded cheese
Leftover herbs from nachos (cilantro and scallions)
Coarse sea salt


1. Heat chicken stock in a medium pot.

2. Season with coarse sea salt.

3. When stock is boiling, carefully add plate of leftover nachos, whole.

4. Simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Ladle soup into big bowls and garnish with shredded cheese and leftover herbs.