A Cheesy Attempt (Chicken Quesadilla)

Cooked quesadilla

I have been raring to cook quesadillas since my Texan boss cooked a batch for the staff a couple of months back. Since quesadillas are only fun to make when cooked for a crowd, I have not had the opportunity to cook them until today at the Cousins’ Annual Post Christmas party.

I wanted to wake up at four am so I can cook 48 quesadillas, eat breakfast, get T ready for the party, dress myself and attend a one hour teleconference on factory operations. But of course I woke up at 6am (I was actually dreaming I was already cooking chicken!). So this meant cooking in my pjs.

I marinated the chicken late last night, so I only had to put them on the grill. We began working at 615. By 730, M and I already had 48 pcs locked and loaded in various containers (with hot and non hot versions).  Not bad and just in time.

The chicken was moist and salty so I was happy I got the mild cheese to go with it. You must not skip the jalapeno or chilies: the sour taste is a must to cut through the rich and milky flavors of the chicken and cheese, respectively.

My Boss’ Chicken Quesadilla

Recipe makes 48 pcs

1 k skinless chicken breasts (alot one whole breast for 4 quesadillas)

48 cheese singles (quickmelt preferred)

48 6 inch flour tortillas (or cut a 12 inch one in half)

A bottle of sliced chili peppers or jalapeno peppers (3 small slices per quesadilla)

Garlic Salt

Pepper

Olive oil

Juice of two lemons

Oil for frying

  • Coat the chicken breasts with garlic salt and pepper. Pour lemon juice and olive oil over the chicken and let stand for a couple of hours. (Do not leave this overnight or too long, as the taste of the garlic and lemon will overpower the chicken taste).
  • Grill the chicken breasts over a hot grill pan (like the below).  For high volume cooking (or if you woke up late and running out of time like I was) put the chicken in a cooking tray and cook in the oven at 350 degrees with the grill on to brown the tops. This will take only less than 15 mins.  The pan method is still the best as the oven method doesn’t come out as quite as juicy.
  • The chicken should just turn opaque and still feel soft when you poke it.

Chicken on grill

  • Let the chicken rest for five minutes before slicing into half-inch strips.
  • Since I couldn’t find jalapeno peppers in three grocery stores, I used pickled chili peppers instead and sliced them while waiting for the chicken to cook.

sliced peppers

  • Do not get excited and start opening up all the bags of tortillas or cheese to kill time. They dry out pretty quickly and thus harder to roll.
  • Assemble the tortilla as shown in the below.  My winning combination is one tortilla+1 slice cheese single+2 pieces chicken+3 small slices of jalapeno)

flayed quesadilla

  • Roll the tortilla up and insert a toothpick to hold the roll into place.

rolled uncooked quesadilla

  • At this stage, you may keep the tortilla refrigerated for a day before frying.
  • NOTE: ON HINDSIGHT, I SHOULD HAVE CUT THE EXCESS FLOUR OVERHANG WITH A KNIFE  BECAUSE IT BURNS TOO EASILY WHEN FRYING AND JUST SUCKS UP OIL. NO UPSIDE TO THAT OVERHANG.
  • Fry the tortilla in hot oil until it turns golden brown. Drain and blot with kitchen towels to remove excess oil. I used a frying pan with one inch deep of oil. NOTE: ITS GOOD PRACTICE TO REMOVE THE TOOTHPICKS AS THEY COME OUT OF THE PAN BEFORE SERVING. I HAVE HAD MANY GUESTS WONDERING WHAT THAT CRUNCH WAS BEFORE THEY DISCOVERED HALF A TOOTHPICK STICKING OUT OF THEIR QUESADILLA!
  • Serve hot with salsa.

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