Friday, August 15, 2008
Simple Chicken Quesadillas
The quesadilla (literally translated as “little cheesy thing”) is a Mexican and Tex-Mex dish consisting of pan-fried tortilla(s) sandwiching melted cheese. Variations abound – involving various types of meat, vegetables and toppings. I prefer to keep the quesadilla simple and serve it with salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Quesadillas are traditionally made with corn tortillas, but in certain regions of Mexico and many parts of the United States wheat tortillas are preferred.
The quesadilla concept is extremely simple, but many people run into problems. Guest-blogger Sarah gave me a very useful tip – heat the cheese-topped tortilla in the microwave before placing it in the pan. This melts the cheese without browning the tortilla so that you avoid overcooking the tortilla (which makes it brittle). I avoid putting toppings (salsa and guacamole) and vegetables inside the quesadilla since they can release water (making the quesadilla soggy) or prevent the cheese from sticking to both tortillas. If you really want to add vegetables: cut them into small pieces, pre-cook them to release water (avoid tomatoes, which are very watery), and use extra cheese.
Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a starter
4 teaspoons butter
4 large whole wheat tortillas
1 cup jalapeno pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 cup rotisserie chicken pieces, at room temperature
Salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream to serve
1. Heat a large skillet on medium. At the same time, place half of the cheese on a tortilla and microwave for 30 seconds or until the cheese is just melted.
2. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in the skillet, and place cheese-covered tortilla in the pan. Cook for 1 minute, then top with half the chicken, and cook for 1 further minute until the cheese bubbles and the tortilla has browned. Place another tortilla on top and remove to a plate.
3. Melt another teaspoon of butter and place quesadilla (uncooked tortilla down) into the pan. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes until the tortillas are stuck to each other.
4. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
5. Remove to a cutting board and slice with a pizza cutter. Serve with salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream.