Recipe 15.2: Chicken Quesadillas with Homemade Pico de Gallo
These quesadillas are warm, crispy, gooey, spicy, and oh-so-good. Although there are only two of us, I made 5 quesadillas (there were 10 tortillas in the bag! I couldn’t let them go to waste, could I?!) and they were all eaten up within 18 hours of their original cooking. Add the quesadillas to a big bowl of homemade salsa and you have a match made in Mexico heaven.
8 small tortillas, white or wheat
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin, chili powder and paprika
1/4 tsp. salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper
1/4 cup water
1 can pinto beans
3 tbs. canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. ripe tomatoes
1 large jalapeno
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup minced red onion
salt and pepper
Begin by cooking chicken. Add oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook. stirring often, until chicken is almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add spices to the pan, stir to coat. Stir in water and bring to a boil. Let boil until all water is absorbed.
While chicken cooks, prepare salsa. Dice tomatoes into small pieces, chop cilantro, chop red onion, chop jalapeno (remove seeds for less heat). Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Drizzle with juice of 1 lime. Season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 tbs. of salt and a few twists of the pepper grinder). Mix well to combine.
Prepare beans. Heat canola oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and allow to soften and become fragrant. Drain and rinse beans, then add to saucepan. Stir to combine, then use a potato masher to mash up the beans. Reduce heat to low.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Build quesadillas by layering a tortilla with beans, then chicken, then cheese. Lay a tortilla on top. Spray top tortilla with cooking spray. Spray skillet with cooking spray, then lay quesadilla in skillet, with sprayed tortilla on the bottom. Toast for 2-3 minutes, or until tortilla reaches desired brownness. Spray top tortilla with cooking spray, then use a large spatula to carefully flip quesadilla. Continue toasting on second side, 1-2 minutes, then remove from pan and lay on a plate. Slice quesadilla with a pizza cutter. Spoon pico into small bowls and serve alongside quesadilla. Top with sliced avocado, if you like.