Margarita Chicken Quesadillas
Caramelized, cumin-spiced onions and chicken that's been deglazed with a splash of tequila and lime juice, combine with fresh sliced tomatillos, jalapeños and chopped cilantro to lend these quesadillas a lot of bright, fresh flavor. Cooked just long enough to melt the cheese, the individual ingredients add layers of flavor that blend together perfectly. Serve with a refreshing lager or a light, food friendly white wine like Riesling.
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup tequila
- 8 10-inch flour tortillas
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely shredded
- 4 medium tomatillos, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft. Season with the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of the lime juice and continue cooking until the onions are caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat 2 more tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook until light golden on the outside, 1-1/2 minutes per side. Add the tequila and remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Continue cooking, turning the chicken several times, until the liquid evaporates, 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into bite sized pieces.
Wipe out the skillet and brush lightly with a bit of the remaining oil. Add a tortilla and sprinkle with 1 ounce of the shredded cheese. Be sure to get some of the cheese near the edge of the tortilla as this helps to seal the quesadilla together.
Add a layer of tomatillo slices and a portion of sautéed onions. Top with some sliced jalapeño, chicken and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Add another 1 ounce of cheese and another tortilla. Using the back of a large spatula, press the quesadilla flat, sealing the edges with the melted cheese.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the tortilla on the bottom is lightly browned. To flip, lay a plate upside down on the quesadilla, and flip the pan over while holding the bottom of the plate. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and cook for 2 minutes more.
Transfer to a platter and keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining quesadillas. Cut quesadillas into quarters before serving.
Makes 4 servings