Haystacks. . . What can I say? They are iconic of the food culture of my church. We eat them at Sabbath potlucks, Friday night suppers, camp meeting, parties, picnics, baby and wedding showers, church socials, and anywhere a large group of people needs to be fed. If you are interested you can read about Haystack history by clicking on the link here.
Haystacks are definitely a one dish meal comprised of the four food groups but at the same time are very flexible and can be adjusted to suit just about anyone's taste. I have a friend who only has the chips, cheese and lettuce but most people load up and make a meal out of the layers of tasty goodness. If for some reason there are people who don't like sour cream or salsa, ranch salad dressing and ketchup can be used. Actually, any favourite salad dressing can be used on a Haystack. If you prefer a vegan Haystack, use a vegan cheese and skip the sour cream.
Haystacks are a favourite meal at our house. Don could eat them every day and be happy about his meal plan. I don't always use Bean Chili in Haystacks. I sometimes open a can of beans (black, pinto, kidney, 6 blend or chili style, etc.) and warm them up with a couple of spoonfuls of salsa. Most of the time we have rice but if I'm running late I may skip the rice and use corn. Did I mention how flexable Haystacks are? Every family makes them a little different by adding or subtracting ingredients. The basic Haystack is chips, chili, cheese, lettuce and tomato. After that it's anyone's choice what's piled on. What's your favourite Haystack ingredients?
Use enough of the following for each person:
Corn or tortilla chips
Bean Chili with Veggie Burger or hot beans (pinto, black, chili style, etc., canned or homemade)
Hot cooked rice, optional
Grated cheddar cheese
Shredded or chopped lettuce
Salad Vegetables, at least 2 or 3 (or as many as you like) of the following:
--Diced sweet peppers, any or all colours
--Diced avocado or guacamole
--Sliced green onion or finely diced sweet onion
--Diced pickles (Anne loves dill pickles on her Haystack.)
--Corn niblets (Vicki loves corn on her Haystack.)
--Sliced pickled jalapenos (For those who like it hot.)
Sour cream and/or ranch dressing
Salsa or taco sauce or hot sauce
Build each Haystack with a base of corn/tortilla chips. Then layer on the chili or beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and any other vegetable toppings you wish. Dress with sour cream and salsa (or salad dressing and ketchup if you wish).
This is how I assemble my Haystack. Start with a good foundation of corn or tortilla chips. (I prefer corn chips.) Add a good ladle of Bean Chili or hot beans and then add hot rice. I like to add a layer of cheese on top of the hot rice. Some people like to put their cheese on with the veggies but I like my cheese to melt into the hot rice and beans. Then add shredded lettuce and tomatoes and as many salad toppings as you prefer. Top everything with salsa and sour cream. Then find a fork and napkin and dig in.
Recently my church hosted a luncheon meeting of the local ministerial association and we served Haystacks.
This is a collage of the table when we served the pastors the Haystacks. From left to right you can see corn chips, tortilla chips, bean chili, rice, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, green onions, olives, salsa, sour cream, hot sauce and jalapeno peppers. We also had a few carrot dinner rolls for anyone who wanted one.
This is Don's plate.
I literally snached this away from him while he was eating to take a picture.
Don's plate taken from the uneaten side.
My plate. You can't see the chili but it's there underneath the rice.
Grab a fork and napkin and dig in!