Spicy Saute Quesadillas
With February just around the corner, one would think that winter is on its way out the door, right? Alas, not so much. With 1 whopping snow storm hitting us last week, the word on the street is that another major storm is around the corner. One of the perks of living on the East coast! Yay!
You’d think that by now I’d be a little tired of all of this snow…and truth be told, I know that my back and muscles are sure tired of all of the shoveling, but despite all of that, I love having the opportunity to get into snowball fights with Mai and make award winning snow cows with her. And…after a hard days worth of shoveling and sculpting, I also get to treat myself to something warm and spicy!
I first came across these quesadillas when I caught a snippet of the show, “Ask Aida” on Food Network. I’m not even sure if the show is still on or not, but regardless, Aida had something great going on here. A pretty simple quesadilla that was dressed up with sauteed poblano and jalapeno peppers that oozed simplicity and spicy goodness. I’ve taken it a step further and added some diced chicken and extra peppers to take it from an appetizer dish to a main entree hearty enough to satisfy even the most ferocious of snow warriors.
So as the next way of snow prepares to hit us, prepare to hunker down guys and arm yourselves with your snowblower and spicy quesadillas!
Spicy Saute Quesadillas
Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2-3 jalapenos, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise (depending on your heat preference, you may also choose to seed these to make it milder)
5 poblano peppers, quartered lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into ½ inch strips
1 ¼ cups low sodium chicken broth
1 boneless chicken breast, diced fine
12 flour tortillas, burrito sized
Your favorite cheese (we prefer to use a mixture of shredded Cabot’s extra sharp and some Monterrey)
Salt and pepper
Accompaniements — sour cream, salsa, and guacamole
In a large frying pan over medium high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until it shimmers. Add in chicken and saute until browned, about 8 minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil to pan and then add onions, garlic, and jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper and saute until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add in poblanos and stir to coat. Add in broth and let simmer until liquid is reduced to just enough to coat peppers, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onions, garlic, and jalapenos, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add poblanos and stir to coat. Add broth and cook until the liquid reduces enough to just coat the vegetables, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
You can prepare your quesadillas either in the oven or on the stove. To do the oven preparation, preheat oven to 500 degrees, positioning 1 rack in the middle and one on top. Top 1 tortilla with 1/2 cup of cheese and 1/6 of pepper mixture. Finish by topping with a 2nd tortilla. Repeat to make 6 total quesadillas. Arrange quesadillas on 2 baking sheets and place one on the top rack, one in the middle. Bake for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted. Switch baking sheets’ position and continue to back another 5 minutes until golden brown or crisp. Serve immediately.
I usually prefer to do a pan preparation as it allows me to only dirty 1 extra pan and gives me the freedom to prepare just enough food for myself and save the pepper mixture for leftovers to make quesadillas the next day!
In a separate clean pan, drizzle a little bit of olive oil over high heath. Place 1 tortilla and let warm for about 1-2 minutes until the tortilla becomes pliable and soft. Sprinkle with cheese, leaving about 1″ of space from the edge of the tortilla. Cover pan and allow cheese to melt, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove cover and spoon some of the spicy saute mixture over 1/2 of the prepared tortilla. Using a spatula, fold over the other half of the tortilla so that you have a half moon in the pan. Cover and let cook for another 2 minutes. Remove quesadilla onto a plate, cut into wedges, and serve.