Gochujang Chili-Cheese Nachos

Edward Lee—the Korean American chef of Louisville's 610 Magnolia and MilkWood and author of the cookbook Smoke and Pickles—has long known what the rest of the country is just learning: Sweet-spicy-funky gochujang makes just about everything better. Here, he uses the Korean pantry staple in his beer-braised, chipotle-spiced beef chili and also mixes it into sour cream for extra umami and flavor. To make the nachos, he drapes the chile and creamy dip over tortilla chips, then adds crumbled cotija cheese and slices of fresh serrano peppers. "I eat nachos only a few times a year, so when I do, I want to make sure it's worth it," says Lee. "This recipe is not for the timid. It requires a long night, beers, whiskey and loud music." Reprinted from ¡Buenos Nachos! by Gina Hamadey. Copyright © 2016 by W&P Design. Published by Dovetail (www.dovetail.press)

Gochujang Chili-Cheese Nachos
Photo: © W&P Design
4 to 6


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 small onion, fine chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons gochujang (Korean fermented chile paste), divided

  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup dark beer

  • 2 cups beef broth

  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream

  • 8 to 10 ounces mixed yellow and blue tortilla chips (about half a medium bag of each type)

  • 3⁄4 cup crumbled cotija cheese

  • 2 serrano peppers, thinly sliced


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the meat all over, about 3 to 4 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a paper towel–lined plate.

  2. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeño pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons of gochujang, the chipotle pepper, sugar, cumin, coriander and salt; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the beer, broth and tomatoes; using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Bring the chili to a simmer and cook until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Let the chili cool to room temperature and season to taste with salt. The chili can be made up to 1 day ahead.

  3. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and remaining 2 teaspoons of gochujang.

  4. Arrange the chips on a platter. Using a slotted spoon, scatter a layer of chili over the chips. Sprinkle the cotija cheese over the top. Dollop the gochujang sour cream over the cheese, garnish the nachos with the serrano peppers and serve.

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