Thursday 24 February 2011

Chicken Quesadillas

This is another recipe I got from my first year as an undergraduate, from my first American flatmate. She also gave me the recipe to the only Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough I will eat, but that's another post for another day.

Serves: 4 people,  ( or 3 Ravenous people)
Preparation time: 20 minutes (I chop slowly!) 
Cooking time: 1 hour (to do all of them)

This dish is both simple and simply delicious.
Spicy seasoned and moist chicken fillets, combined with vegetables with a little bit of bite left in them - all smothered in molten (in my case, lacto-free) cheese, and encased in a crunchy, crisp tortilla wrap...Oh, it's delightful! It's aromatic, it's filling and it's actually delicious. If you're not a fan of chicken, mushrooms are a brilliant replacement, or Quorn pieces.
 If you're feeling a little bit wild, throwing in some jalapenos gives this dish a wicked kick if heat.
Three single portions are just on the right side of filling, though I felt so sleepy after, so work was not longer an issue.
I especially love to make it when I have friends over, because it's such a lovely dish to share, so when The Faerie said she was coming back to uni from her Christmas holidays yes, this post is that old), I thought, what better dish to welcome her back with?
After I started making them, it occurred to me that I should probably let her have some too.

The things I do for my friends.

The way I eat my quesdillas is throwing the vegetables in at the end, so they're lovely and crisp and crunchy. If the idea of biting into a nearly raw onion or pepper breaks you out in hives, just throw the vegetables in with the chicken at the beginning!

8 Flour tortillas
2 Chicken fillets, chopped (about 225g)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Half of a yellow onion, sliced
Half of a red pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
Half of a yellow pepper, also chopped into bite sized piece
Half of red onion, diced
500g cheese (A 75/25 mix between cheddar and Caerphilly gives a nice texture)
4 teaspoons Fajita seasoning
You can make your Fajita Seasoning by mixing:
1 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder

First step consists of sorting out the chicken. If you forgot to chop it, do it now *sigh, rolls her eyes and checks her watch*

I kid.
Then season generously with the fajita seasoning and rub it into the chicken. If you can, try and leave it for up to an hour for the flavours of the spices to develop properly.


Heat a little of the oil in a frying pan (large enough to hold a tortilla) over a medium high heat and, when hot, throw in the sliced yellow onion and sauté for a minute to flavour the oil.
Then throw in the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes, or until done.
(Reminder that if you don't like crunchy, near raw vegetables, now is the time to throw them in the frying pan)

 Lots of quesadilla lovers suggest blackening the chicken to really get the flavours out.

But when you live in a student flat with alarms designed to pick up a smoke particle from a piece of toast two minutes in the future, that's not the greatest idea.

Or if your kitchen vent is rubbish, you end up getting smoked instead of the actual chicken in the pan. Not cool.

Anyway. When the chicken is done, transfer them and the onions to a plate out of the pan.

Okay, so I managed a little blackening.

Rub a little more of the oil around the frying pan and then add one of the tortillas.
If you're making a single portion, which is a lot easier to do that a double portion, sprinkle cheese on half of the tortilla.

After about a minute, the cheese should start melting, at which case, you then throw on some of the vegetables, and the cooked chicken.

Then, you sprinkle more cheese over side with the vegetables and chicken. Basically, don't do like me and forget how to make it, thus sprinkling cheese on the wrong side:

Anyway, when you have not made my mistake, you flip the naked tortilla side over the chicken/cheese/vegetable side. I would have a picture, but I tried to flip, snap and catch at the same time and managed to drop my phone and spatula at the same time.
Multi-tasking is not for the weak!

Flip the entire tortilla, so that side you just flipped over is now at the bottom, so that the newly sprinkled cheese can also melt. I have an after shot, of the cheese oozing out the crease. 
Thar you go:

After about 1 - 2 minutes, that side should be suitably brown and you can take it off the heat and do again 7 more times if you want!

However, if you want to do them a little bit faster and a lot more bigger, you can do what I call double portions (though most recipes will use this as the default. You basically do the same thing as above, but over the entire thing.

So cheese is sprinkled over the entirety of the tortilla, along with the chicken and vegetables:

And then the cheese is sprinkled on top all over.

And then - Whoa! What have I done?!

Worry not, you just place another whole tortilla on top. You let the bottom brown for about 2 - 3 minutes so that when flip it over it's lovely and toasted like so:

Turning it over by yourself is difficult - you probably need two spatulas and maybe another entire person to help you. Things will fall out. But it's okay because you just shove them back in with your magic spatula.

You don't need to make everything at once - you can keep the chicken and vegetables int he fridge and do it all again. 

But I was hungry...

So hungry!

It's like those old Jaffa cake adverts...

"Full Moon..."

"Half Moon!!

"Total Eclipse!"

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