Friday, July 13, 2007

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla
The last few days have been unbearably hot, with yesterday being one of the top 10 hottest days ever recorded here in Seattle. I was too lethargic to do get up and do anything other than lay on the couch and complain about the heat. Pardon the silence on this blog, as I haven't been cooking much or blogging. But like Jaden, there are so many old recipes I still haven't gotten around to posting, so now is a good time to do so.

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla was a very popular menu item at my favorite lunch spot near the UW, Honeybee's Cafe (which sadly closed two years ago). It's been a long time since I've had a Honeybee's quesadilla, but from what I can remember, the original quesadilla had grilled chicken, tomatoes, Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and BBQ sauce in a tomato flour tortilla. This quesadilla is very flexible the only constants are: tortilla, chicken, your favorite BBQ sauce (Cook's Illustrated likes Bull's Eye Original), and cheese. The rest of the ingredients depend on what you have on hand. So here rather than offering an exact recipe, it's just a few tips on making a yummy quesadilla, which I learned from watching America's Test Kitchen.

Barbeque Chicken Quesadilla

Flour Tortillas
Chicken, cut up into large chunks (You can use grilled chicken, leftover roast chicken or bbq chicken, doesn't really matter)
Coarsley grated cheese (Cheddar, Monterey, Pepper Jack, or a combo)
Thinly sliced green onions or red onions
Fresh tomatoes or fresh tomato salsa, drained (if using this then omit the onions)
Corn (frozen is almost as good as fresh)
BBQ Sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Few dashes of Tabasco if you like it hot
Lime juice, just a little bit (omit if using fresh tomato salsa)

- Toast your corn
Toasting the corn brings out a nice roasted, toasty flavor and evaporates the moisture so it doesn't leak into the quesadilla. This is an essential ingredient in all of my quesadilas now. (Frozen corn also doubles as a handy ice pack if you ever jam your finger in a door like Steven. :( Ouch!)

Heat a small nonstick skillet pan over high or medium high heat (no oil!) and add your corn. Shake the pan occasionally until you see the corn turn a dark brown in spots and pop out of your pan. Yes it will literally jump out of the skillet. Set aside for the filling.

- Make your quesadillas
There's a lot of flexibility here with what goes in so you can be the judge of that. Just don't make them too stuffed otherwise it'll be too hard to flip.

Also, rather than making the quesadilla with one tortilla on the bottom and one on the top and forming a sandwich (this is too hard to flip, stuff will fall out). Add your filling to only half the tortilla (leave a 1/2 in border around the edge) then you flip the other half over and make a half moon shape. This way, less yummy filling falls out. You can also cook two of these in a pan.

- Cooking the quesadilla
If you add the oil directly to the pan it won't evenly distribute to cover the entire quesadilla and sometimes you end up using too much oil leading to overly greasy quesadillas and oily fingers.

So instead, use a pastry brush and brush the tortilla a thin layer of vegetable oil. This ensures that the quesadilla will be evenly covered using the least amount of oil as possible. Optional step: sprinkle a little bit of salt over the oil so it will be even more crisp (I always forget to do this).

Cook the quesadilla over medium heat, oil side down, until the bottoms are crisp and golden brown, it'll will take a few minutes. Then brush the top of the quesadilla with some more oil and carefully flip them over. The second side will take less time because the pan will be hotter.

Slide them out and let it sit for 2 - 3 minutes for the cheese to set. Then cut into wedges and serve.

I'm not the only Seattleite who can't stand the heat, Pea made an absolutely drool-worthy ice cream.


Janet said...

I love quesadillas. Your pictures are incredible!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Oh boy these really look yummy. Nice pics!

Tart Reform said...

Sounds great, but I always find that tomatoes inside my quesadillas make them runny. I just resort to serving them on the side. Your quesadilla looks great and not at all runny. Great job!

Deborah said...

Quesadillas have to be one of my favorite go-to meals. I love the addition of corn!

Just some girl said...

Corn is THE BEST in quesadillas. (It's great with the addition of that spanish yellow rice, too.)

And the quesadilla ingredients also make GREAT pizza - we use bbq sauce instead of tomato and top with corn, tomatoes, green onions, sometimes black beans, and chicken, and then pepper jack cheese. It's SO good.

SteamyKitchen said...

Love the pic - it looks so good that I want one now!

Peabody said...

I don't think anyone wants to cook around here!
Those look mighty tasty. Too bad I never made it to that BBQ restaurant.

Mandy said...

Amy, this looks so yummy!!!! i wish I could have some without cooking ;p

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

We're having something much like this for dinner tonight! All I'm going to add is some Trader Joe's jalapeno-lime salsa; it's super hot and delicious.

Amy said...

Aw thanks, I'm so flattered!

Your shots are always so gorgeous!

Tart Reform,
I find it really helps if you cut the tomatoes and set them aside in a colander to drain for 20 minutes. Salting them might help also but I think it may make them mushy.

For us, quesadilla is a favorite lunch or after-work snack. :) The corn tastes really great and it's entertaining to watch them pop.

Just some girl,
That sounds great! I'll have to make it as soon as the weather cools down a bit so I can fire up the oven again.

*blush* my pics aren't nearly as good as your sinful food porn shots! :D

Believe or not, I actually had to bake something later that day. It was torture. Bettina and I had to take turns mixing the batter because it was too darn hot and I hated turning on the oven! Ugh...

Thanks! :)

Yum that salsa sounds fantastic! I adore TJ's!

Anonymous said...

Looks almost like chicken pot pie filling wrapped in tortilla :p

WokandSpoon said...

I love the photo of the oozing BBQ chicken - looks delicious! You're lucky you've been having hot weather...our summer has only just begun!

Anonymous said...

Those look so good. Those photos are mouth watering good!

Anonymous said...

I so envy your quesadilla, so nicely browned, yums !:)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I'm glad I can find something similar to tortillas here in Brazil nowadays - this is delicious, Amy!

Amy said...

Hehe that's a good way to look at it.

Wok and Spoon,
Our summer has been filled with atypical weather this year. :) Hope you enjoy your summer!

Aw thank you!

Brushing the oil on really helps!


The BBQ Guy said...

Wow. Your pictures are incredible. I'm getting hungry just readinq your blog.


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