Chicken Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions and Jack Cheese  Recipe
Chicken Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions and Jack Cheese

By Diane Rossen Worthington

Quesadillas, those puffy "little whims" as the Mexicans call appetizers, are a tortilla that is filled, folded over and lightly fried or baked to brown the outside. These Mexican sandwiches are a staple for Seriously Simple cooks because they are so easy to prepare and offer big taste results

Corn and flour tortillas are typically used for making quesadillas. There are also a slew of new flavored tortillas available, some of which are high in fiber or protein, while others are vegetable and herb-flavored. Choose what you like. Quesadillas can be simple, with a plain melted cheese center (which kids love), or more complicated creations like this trio of flavors.

This caramelized onion, chicken and jack cheese version is full of complementary flavors. To make it easy, cook the onions a few days ahead and keep refrigerated. Remember that the key to a good quesadilla is using good quality tortillas, shredded cheese that melts into little strings, and other flavors like salsa, vegetables or herbs you prefer. These can be served cut into pieces as a first course or as a main course for brunch or lunch. To drink, chilled Mexican beer or frosty Margaritas would make a fine accompaniment.

A Few Tips and Variations:

-- Try other combinations such as apple and cheddar cheese, cooked potatoes, spinach and spicy Jack cheese.

-- Substitute cooked black beans for the chicken for a vegetarian version.

-- Pick up precooked chicken and shred if in a hurry.

-- Use cooked shredded beef or pork instead of the chicken.

-- Try different salsa varieties such as tomatillo, chipotle or even mango.

-- When you are working with chilies, always wear rubber gloves. Wash the cutting surface and knife immediately.

-- This recipe can be prepared up to two days ahead through step 2 and refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before continuing.

Chicken Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions and Jack Cheese Recipe

Serves 6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 large red onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup beer, a medium bodied lager

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 medium jalapeno chili, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Salt and black pepper

Non-stick spray

3 12-inch flour tortillas

1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1-1/2 cups shredded jack cheese


1/2 cup favorite guacamole

1/2 cup salsa of your choice

1/2 cup sour cream

1. Heat oil in large nonaluminum saute pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, for about 10 to 15 minutes or until well softened.

2. Add the beer, vinegar, sugar and jalapeno to the onions and simmer over low heat until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. The onions should be very tender and slightly caramelized. Add the oregano, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and let cool.

3. Lightly spray a 12-inch nonstick skillet or griddle with nonstick spray or a tablespoon of oil and place on medium-high heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet and spoon 1/2 cup of the onion mixture evenly over one half. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of chicken and top evenly with 1/2 cup shredded cheese; fold the tortilla in half, pressing down with a spatula. Cook the quesadilla until lightly brown, then turn over and cook the other side until lightly brown. Place on a cutting board, slice into bite-sized wedges, and keep warm under aluminum foil.

4. Repeat to cook the remaining quesadillas. Arrange on a large serving platter and serve immediately accompanied by guacamole, salsa and sour cream.


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