With finals season upon us, it’s time to step up your game-day preparations. As good as they are, there’s no need to settle for a lukewarm pie or a cup of cold chips anymore. All you need to be the best chef on ground is a bit of prep time and a thermos.

At his Melbourne cocktail bar Bad Frankie Seb Costello champions Australian spirits and elevates the humble jaffle with fillings such as bangers and mash, supreme pizza, and hot jam doughnut. And he takes the same approach to snacking at the footy oval.

"What goes better with mid-strength beer than nachos? And it's always good when you don't have to bring cutlery. The chips are God’s spork," says Costello. "The canteen at the Belconnen Magpies home ground in Canberra did an ace nachos when I played under 10s to 13s footy. Under 12s was my better year so I'll always remember them. Then the wedges took over."

Costello and chef Daniel Dobra (ex-St Ali, The Beaufort) have put together this spicy, zesty dish of vegetarian nachos that will have your rival fans swapping allegiances in no time.

Cowboy Chilli Cheese Nachos
Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Salsa Venico
Ingredients:
1 tomato, diced (first cut in half and charred in a dry pan)
½ red onion, diced (first sliced in 2cm slices and charred in a dry pan)
100g roasted red capsicum (jarred or tinned is fine)
½ white onion, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced (seeds removed)
Juice of one lime
50ml olive oil
½ tbsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tbsp taco spice
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Combine all ingredients and season to taste.

Cowboy barbeque chilli
Ingredients:
100g red pepper, finely diced
100g yellow pepper, finely diced
1 green chilli, finely diced
150g onion, finely diced
20g garlic cloves, crushed
400g tsp (textured vegetable protein – or any plant-based meat alternative)
150g tomato paste
½ tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
50ml olive oil
1 clove, whole
2 bay leaves
½ tbsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground coriander
250g tomato passata
330ml dark beer
2 tbsp taco spice
Shredded mozzarella and sour cream to serve

Method:
Caramelise the capsicum, onion and garlic.

Add the spices and cook for 5 minutes until aromatic.

Add all other ingredients and bring to simmer, cook on low for approximately 1 hour.

Keep warm in a thermos until you head to the game.

To finish the dish, open a bag of your favourite corn chips and pour out the hot cowboy chilli. Sprinkle generously with shredded mozzarella, spoon over salsa and finish with sour cream.

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