July 05, 2007

Quesadilla Deliciosa

For the marinade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons mango juice
1 Tablespoon tequila
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
5 cloves of garlic
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper*
juice of a lime
juice of half a lemon
freshly ground pepper to taste

Everything else:
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz portobello mushroom caps, sliced
8 oz frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
2 cloves garlic
juice form 1/4 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
large flour tortillas
refried beans
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salsa (optional)
sour cream (for dipping)

*Or for a less spicy marinade, substitute smoked paprika.

Marinate the chicken at least one hour or up to one day before you want to make the quesadillas. Put all of the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Place the chicken in a resealable bag and add the marinade. Refrigerate until you are ready to make the quesadillas. Then, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Saute the chicken (reserving the marinade) until cooked almost cooked through, turning about half way through, about 5 minutes. Then add the marinade into the pan and cook an additional few minutes until it has reduced and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cut into strips. Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic, lime juice and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are tender.
Heat a pan large enough for a large tortilla to lay flat. Place one tortilla in the pan and heat until warmed through and slightly browned, flipping once. Repeat. Spread one tortilla with a thin layer of refried beans. Top with a thin layer of spinach. Add the sliced chicken, mushrooms in a single layer on top. Dot with salsa if desired. Sprinkle with the shredded cheddar-how much is up to you, but this is the "glue" that will hold the quesadilla together, so this is not the time to be stingy with the cheese. Place the second tortilla on the top of all of this and return it to the pan. Cook until the cheese has melted, spinning it occasionally around the pan with your finger tips, and the bottom is slightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. Carefully flip it and cook it on that side for an additional 1 minute. Remove to a large plate and slice (a pizza cutter works well) into wedges and serve with sour cream to dip.

My thoughts:

I am not entirely sure why it has taken so long for me to post a quesadilla recipe. We eat them all the time! Sometimes we make them to use up odds and ends of leftover meat, but frequently we marinate chicken or steak just for quesadillas. It is sort of our fallback meal for those nights when we just can't think of anything to make but they are also good to make for guests, because a lot of the prep work can be done the night before. Matt marinated the chicken and I made the refried beans yesterday, so today, when we had a much anticipated guest for dinner, Matt only had to saute the meat and mushrooms and assemble the quesadillas. Dinner (and watermelon margaritas!) was on the table in minutes. I've noticed that most people do not make quesadillas (and probably not with our startling frequency or variety) at home which makes it a perfect casual dinner for guests; even though it is simple, no one is ever disappointed.