Smoky Chipotle Quesadillas Help You Tackle Super Bowl Snacking

By Tom Liddy on February 1, 2013 6:51am 

NEW YORK CITY — You don't need a Hail Mary to whip up a delicious Super Bowl snack.

Gameday cooking can be more fear-inspiring than Ray Lewis running at you, but this delicious quesadilla recipe can help take some of the pressure off.

Most of the ingredients can be made ahead of time, so you can enjoy the historic showdown between the Harbaugh brothers as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday.

This dish features the chipotle pepper, a smoked jalapeño which has medium heat and a nice smoky quality.

The chipotles are used to marinate the chicken, giving it a smoky flavor that is great for those of us who don't have a charcoal grill.

The peppers are also incorporated into a delicious, garlicky dipping sauce that will have guests asking for more.

Because I like to repeat flavors, fresh, diced jalapenos make an appearance in the quesadilla for color and crunch as well as the pepper jack cheese.

Red onions caramelized with spicy tequila round out the dish. It also pairs nicely with a zesty arugula salad (recipe below).

INGREDIENTS (makes 2 well-stuffed quesadillas):

1 package thinly sliced chicken breast (about 3/4 lb.)

1 can chipotles in adobo (7 oz.)

6 cloves garlic: 4 whole, 4 minced

Cilantro, about 2 tbs. roughly chopped

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped

Olive oil

2 limes: 1 zested and juiced; and juice from the other

Salt and pepper

1 cup pepper jack cheese

1 package tortillas

2 tbs. granulated sugar

1/4 cup spicy tequila (Take 3 dried red chilies, remove the seeds and place into a 750ml bottle of 100 percent agave tequila. Let it steep overnight.)

1 red onion, halved and cut into thin slices

Special equipment: cast iron grill; squeeze bottle

DIRECTIONS:

Ingredients for the Quesadillas (can be made ahead of time)

1. Place the chicken in a mixing bowl and add 3 tsp. of the adobo sauce that the chipotles are packed in, two of the minced garlic cloves and a tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

2. Cover and place in the fridge for at least a half hour.

3. For the sauce, put three or four of the chipotles, the rest of the garlic cloves, the juice of a lime and 2 tbs. of oil into a blender. Pulse until smooth, but still thick, adding more oil if necessary, and season.

4. Heat a large pan on medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add some oil and the onions.  Sautee until soft and lightly browned (about 8 minutes).

5. Add the tequila, 1 tbs. sugar, season with salt and pepper and sautee until caramelized, about 8 more minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

6. When the chicken has marinated, warm a cast iron stovetop grill over medium high heat.  

7. Grill the chicken about 5 minutes on each side (until cooked through) and set aside. Slice into strips about a half inch wide.

Make the Quesadillas

1. Sprinkle some cheese on a tortilla, add some of the chicken, chopped jalapeno, some of the onions and top with some cilantro and more cheese.

2. Place another tortilla on top.

3. Heat a pan on medium low heat.  When the pan is warm, spray with oil, place the quesadilla inside and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

4. Cut the quesadilla into quarters and serve with some of the dipping sauce.

For the Salad

1. Put the lime zest and juice in a bowl (or a plastic squeeze bottle if you have one).

2. Season with salt and pepper and 1/2 tsp. sugar.

3. Put a handful of arugula in a bowl and dress with some of the dressing.  Add to the plate.

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