Chicken And Vegetable Quesadillas

Please let me suggest that you make my recipe for Chicken-and-Vegetable Quesadillas. It's fun and easy to prepare, and it will give you a lively feeling of celebration whether or not you include beer or margaritas in the equation.

A quesadilla, as I like to explain, is simply the grilled cheese sandwich of Mexico. The main difference is that a tortilla replaces the bread.

In my experience, most restaurants make quesadillas on a hot grill or griddle, spreading the flat tortilla with cheese and leaving it until the cheese has begun to melt before folding it in half.

I take a different approach. I like to cook my Chicken And Vegetable Quesadillas in individual heavy skillets or saute pans large enough to hold a tortilla in the bottom. I coat the pan with a touch of olive oil, add a tortilla, and then layer on shredded cheese, another filling such as a mixture of spicy marinated cooked chicken, more cheese, and another tortilla.

Then, while the quesadilla begins to cook, I press down on the top tortilla with a spatula. Doing this helps melt the cheese by pushing it closer against the hot pan, seals the quesadilla, and turns the bottom tortilla evenly golden brown. I then use the spatula to turn the quesadilla over and I repeat on the other side.

The cooking process is a little longer and more complicated than the usual quesadilla, though from start to finish it's still no more than about 5 minutes for each individual serving, 20 minutes for a batch of 4. (You also have to allow an hour beforehand for marinating the chicken and preparing the salsa that also goes into the filling, though both are easy to do and well worth the little extra effort.)

The result is the most beautiful, crispy, flavorful Chicken And Vegetable Quesadillas you've ever tasted.

Chicken & Vegetable Quesadillas

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook time: 20 minutes

    Yield: Serves 4

Chicken & Vegetable Quesadillas Recipe Ingredients


    2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, grilled or broiled (or buy already cooked rotisserie chicken breasts from the market)

    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeno chile pepper

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

    1/2 teaspoon salt


    4 firm but ripe Roma tomatoes

    1 large red organic bell pepper

    1 organic poblano chile pepper

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

    2 tablespoons chopped scallion

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


    Freshly ground black pepper


    8 large flour tortillas, each 8 to 9 inches in diameter

    2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

    Extra-virgin olive oil, for cooking

    Sour cream, for garnish

    Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Chicken & Vegetable Quesadillas Recipe Directions

    First, prepare the Marinated Chicken.

    Slice the cooked chicken breasts into thin strips.

    In a glass bowl, stir together the olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno, cilantro, and salt. Add the chicken strips, toss to coat thoroughly, and cover with plastic wrap.

    Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, make the salsa.

    Working with one tomato at a time, spear the tomato from its stem end with a long-handled carving fork and hold it over an open gas flame, turning constantly until the skin evenly blackens begins to peel, 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with the red bell pepper and poblano chile. (If you don't have a gas cooktop, place the tomatoes on a broiler tray directly under a pre-heated broiler and turn several times until the skins are blackened and peeling.) Repeat with the bell pepper and chile.

    Peel, core, seed, and dice the tomatoes, bell pepper, and chile.

    In a medium bowl, combine them with the cilantro, scallions, and 1 tablespoon olive oil, stirring well and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

    Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.

    To assemble the quesadillas

    use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken mixture from the marinade, transferring the chicken to a clean bowl and discarding excess marinade.

    Place a tortilla in the bottom of a lightly oiled large, heavy skillet set over medium heat.

    Sprinkle about one eighth of the cheese over the tortilla's surface.

    Top with about one fourth each of the salsa and marinated chicken, then another eighth of the cheese and another tortilla.

    While the quesadilla cooks for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, use a flat metal spatula to press down firmly on the quesadilla to help seal in the filling as the cheese melts.

    With the spatula, carefully flip over the entire quesadilla and cook the other side, pressing down with the spatula, for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes longer, until the tortillas are golden brown and cheese has melted. (Adjust the heat under the skillet if the tortillas seem to be browning too quickly before the cheese melts completely.)

    With the spatula, remove the quesadilla from the skillet.

    Transfer it to a baking sheet and keep it in the oven while you make the remaining quesadillas.

    When all the Chicken & Vegetable Quesadillas are done, transfer them to a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, cut into wedges.

    Serve immediately, garnished with sour cream and cilantro.



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