~ Cheesy Roast-Beef Pepper 'n Onion Quesadillas ~
Real-deal oven-roasted beef, a chunk of habanero cheddar cheese, my homemade Baja-spice mix, colorful bell peppers, a sweet onion and a package of flour tortillas. The ingredients are all at my fingertips and the clock is ticking. The only question is, how fast can I slice the beef, grate the cheese, sauté the veggies and assemble them all together between some flour tortillas, grill-pan them all up, get 'em sliced, plated and placed on the TGIF cocktails-are-served table.
Topped w/Sriracha-infused crema & fresh salsa too?
~ Step 1. I roast an eye-of-round every other week. I alternate it with turkey breast. I do it to have weekday sandwich meat. Place an 8 pound roast on a rack in a roasting pan in a 350º oven for 1 1/2 hours. You can find the detailed recipe ~ Eye-of-Round Roast = Back-to-School Sandwiches ~ in Category 2, 10, 17 or 20.
3 cups 1/2"-diced lean, roasted beef, preferably rare
I like to make my own spice blends too and I love my "Baja Spice Blend". I use it to season fish tacos and chicken quesadillas and today I'm using it to season the bell pepper and onion sauté. I won't call the food police if you use store-bought fajita seasoning, just use it judiciously -- it's a lot saltier than homemade. To get the details about ~ The Spice is Right: Baja & Carnitas Blends/Rubs ~, click into Categories 8, 13 or 20.
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
~ Step 2. In a small bowl, stir together all of the spices, and, if you have one on hand, transfer to an empty shaker-type spice container.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups 1/2"-diced bell peppers, preferably a colorful combination of green, red, orange and yellow
1 1/2 cups 1/2"-diced onion
3 tablespoons Baja spice blend, total throughout recipe
3 cups diced roasted beef, from above recipe
~Step 3. Place 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1 tablespoon of the spice blend. Using a large spoon, stir constantly until onion just beings to soften, about 1-1 1/2 minutes. Add the bell peppers and season with a second tablespoon of the spice blend. Stir constantly until the peppers are beginning to soften, about 2-2 1/2 minutes. Add the diced beef and the third and last tablespoon of spice blend. Stir until the meat is just heated through, about 1-1 1/2 minutes. Do not cook the meat, just warm it. Remove skillet from heat, partially cover skillet and set aside.
12 ounces habanero cheddar cheese, about 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
Feel free to use your favorite white or yellow cheddar, Monterey Jack or Monterey Jack jalapeño cheese. Grate it yourself or purchase store-bought grated cheese. They'll all work great and taste great and the choice is yours.
Grilling the quesadillas on the stovetop in a grill pan:
Quesadilla (keh-sah-DEE-yah): A round, flat, cooked-until-soft corn or flour tortilla, folded in half to form a half-moon with a savory filling sandwiched in the center. It is fried on a well-seasoned cast-iron comal (a flat, round griddle), using no or very little oil, although in many modern kitchens, mine included, a grill pan is a great substitution.
Almost any cooked and chopped or shredded meats and/or vegetables can be used as a filling for a quesadilla (fish and seafood are not typically used) -- the meats and vegetables must always be cooked first because a quesadilla cooks in a few short minutes. That said, since "queso (KAY-soh)" is the Spanish word for "cheese": a quesadilla is a container for ooey, gooey melted cheese. For today's quesadillas, you'll need:
8, 8" round flour tortillas
~Step 5. Spray a 12"-round grill pan with no-stick cooking spray and place it over medium heat (medium-heat on my gas stove is medium-high heat on an electric range). Place a tortilla on the grids and place 1/3 cup of grated cheese over half of the surface of the tortilla to within 1/2" of the edge. Place 1/3 cup of the meat filling over the cheese, then, sprinkle another 2 tablespoons of cheese over the top of the meat and the unfilled half of the tortilla. Using a spatula, lift and fold the empty half of the tortilla over the meat filled half and allow to cook until the cheese is just melted, about 45-60 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer quesadilla to a cutting board. Repeat with the remaining seven tortillas.
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 12" skillet w/lid; large skillet; hand-held box grater; 12"-round grill pan or nonstick skillet; paper towel; wide spatula
1/2 cup Mexican crema, or American sour cream
1/4 cup Sriracha hot sauce, more or less to taste
In a small bowl combine crema and Sriracha. If you have a squirt bottle, the kind used to dispense salad dressings, transfer the mixture to it. It will make topping the quesadillas easy & mess free.
Extra Cook's Note Bonus Recipe: Spray a 13" x 9" casserole with no-stick spray. On each of 6, 6" flour tortillas, place 1/3 cup shredded cheddar and 1/3-1/2 cup prepared meat mixture. Lift up the left and right side of each tortilla and fasten with two toothpicks. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups additional shredded cheddar over the top centers of all. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 6-8 minutes, until cheese is melted.
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)