Tuesday dinner: Tomatillo Chicken Quesadilla

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The Wife loves tomatillos. Usually when I buy them, the end result is a batch of salsa verde. I’ll fire roast them over the gas burner on the stove to char them up a little and puree them for salsa.

Tomatillos are nifty little fruit. They have a husk and a sticky skin, which goes away with a quick rinse. Their flavor is earthy with a slight sweetness. They just beg to be matched with cilantro and onions.

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WHAT WORKED: The ingredients were so well thought out, as was the cooking process. Just for fun, I added a packet of Goya Sazon to the broth (I use the Sazon con achiote). I might use this chicken preparation as a base for something else in the future.

WHAT DIDN’T: I absolutely hate my food processor. The motor is loud and sounds like a seagull being waterboarded.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: She kept telling me that this was really good. I’m going to guess that she liked it.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Almost certainly.

2013-08-13 at 17-08-54Tomatillo Chicken Quesadilla
Adapted from Yvonne Ruperti at Serious Eats

  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bunch cilantro (1 cup leaves, stems reserved), rinsed, divided
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or thighs, trimmed of visible fat
  • 10 oz. (about 5 or 6 small) fresh tomatillos, husks removed, washed, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, quartered (JARED’S NOTE: I opted out of the peppers.)
  • 2 tsp. juice from 1 large lime
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

2013-08-13 at 17-10-52If using chicken breasts, halve each breast on the bias so that pieces are of equal thickness. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat chicken broth to simmer. Add cilantro stems to broth.

2013-08-13 at 17-10-57Add chicken to broth and gently cook until just cooked through (chicken should register 155 to 160°F on an instant-read thermometer), 8 to 10 minutes, reducing heat if necessary to maintain a bare simmer. Transfer chicken to plate and shred into small bite-sized pieces when cool enough to handle.

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While chicken is cooking, pulse tomatillos, onion, jalapenos, lime juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and cilantro leaves in food processor to form a medium chunky consistency. Do not puree. Season to taste with more salt as desired.

2013-08-13 at 17-31-46Heat large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place one tortilla in pan and sprinkle with 1/4 of cheese. Arrange 1/4 of the chicken pieces over cheese and spread 1/4 of the salsa over the chicken. Place a tortilla on top and gently press with spatula.

Cook until both sides are crisp, brown, and spotty, and cheese has melted, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adjusting heat so as not to burn tortillas. Continue with remaining ingredients to form 4 quesadillas total. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

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