Monday, October 15, 2012


I had to tinker with the color on this photo so the pepper didn't look
black. Now it looks like it was taken in the 1970s.
Sometimes I get carried away. I know a quesadilla should be primarily cheese--after all, the "quesa" part of the word comes from queso, which is Spanish for cheese--but I like mine filled with other, non-cheese stuff. Maybe even more other stuff than cheese.

With a similar dish, the grilled cheese sandwich, I'm pretty much a purist. I don't like too many other flavors gunking up the gorgeous cheese + greasy bread glory. But then really good bread, soaked in melted butter, is a bit more interesting than a flat flour tortilla with a bit of crispness.

(Please keep in mind that I'm Polish.)

For this dinnertime iteration of the more-stuff-than-cheese quesadilla, I added creamy "refried" beans, and a chunky filling of chorizo, leeks, and some poblano peppers I picked up at the farmers' market. It made for an interesting and spicy combo.

Quesadilla with Refried Beans, Leeks, Chorizo, and Poblano

1 15oz can pinto beans, drained
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 leek, thinly sliced on the bias, well-cleaned and drained
olive oil
2 Mexican chorizo
2 poblano peppers, roasted, skin and seeds removed, diced
pinch sugar
flour tortillas, fajita-size or larger
shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or a combination

Dump the can of beans into a skillet and add the stock or water and cumin. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until much of the stock has boiled off and the beans are soft. Smash them with the back of a spoon or a potato masher until they resemble "refried" beans. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Wash out the skillet and dribble in some olive oil and a pinch of salt. Remove the pesky plastic casings from the chorizo and add the sausages to the pan. Break up the sausage into small bits with your trusty wooden spoon. Add the leeks and cook them until very wilted, stirring frequently. During this process, the bits of sausage will firm up (they were raw to begin with) and cook through. Stir in the peppers and a pinch of sugar to balance out the heat from the sausage and peppers.

To assemble quesadillas: place a tortilla on a plate or other flat surface. Smear a tablespoon or so of the beans onto half the tortilla and top with about 2 tablespoons of the chorizo/leek/pepper stuff. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of shredded cheese, then fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling.

Place in a skillet that has been greased with a bit of cooking spray. Cook over medium-high heat until the bottom gets brown and crispy, then flip. Cook on the other side for a few minutes, and remove from pan.

Cut into wedges and serve with salsa of your choice, sour cream, or au naturel.

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