I promise next week I will feature something that’s not Mexican. Really, I do have other things I like to cook! But this was hands down the best thing I cooked this week!
Quesadillas are the Mexican version of a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. A variety of fillings, melty cheese, all wrapped inside a toasted tortilla. Like tacos, they are more a format than a recipe. This means they can be endlessly adapted to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. This quesadilla was built around spiced kidney beans, smoked garlic and capsicum but they could just as easily be made of spiced pumpkin, spinach and cheese, or wild mushrooms.
Spicy Kidney Bean and Capsicum Quesadilla
Makes 2 quesadillas
4 flour tortillas
1 can red kidney beans
1 red capsicum
1 cup spinach leaves (sub. with other greens if unavailable)
3/4 cup grated cheese (I used mozzarella)
3 cloves smoked garlic ( regular garlic also works)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 long green chillies
Juice of one lime
Optional chipotle sour cream – mix one chopped chipotle pepper in adobe sauce with 1/2 cup of sour cream
Saute onions, garlic and chillies in olive oil until onions start to become translucent. Rinse and drain kidney beans well and add to the pan, sprinkling with sea salt. Stir through the chopped capsicum. Add spices and let cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly.
Deglaze the pan with the juice of one lime, adding a little water if necessary. It will bubble up and combine with the spices to make a savoury liquid. Continue cooking, stirring regularly until most of the liquid is absorbed. This should only take a few minutes. Once reduced, mash the beans roughly with the back of a wooden spoon. You want a mix of some whole ones and some mashed ones.
Warm the tortillas briefly in a medium oven until soft and pliable. Spread the bean mix on one half of the tortilla, and top with grated cheese and spinach leaves. If using chipotle sour cream, spread on the empty half of the tortilla. This is also a good time to add any hot sauces if you like it spicy.
Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the filling, and place tortilla in a hot pan. Seasoned cast iron is great for cooking these, or a non-stick pan. If using a stainless steel pan you may need to use a light spray of oil to stop it sticking. Use your own best judgement here. Let cook for a minute, and lift the quesadilla slightly with a spatula to check the browning.
When it is medium brown, carefully flip the tortilla and cook the other side. Cut into triangles and enjoy with a cold beer! You could also top the quesadilla with additional toppings like fresh chopped avocado.
What’s your favourite quesadilla filling? Let me know in the comments below!