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Chicken Quesadillas with Chipotle Crema & Pico de Gallo

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Serves 8

It’s worth seeking out a variety of Mexican cheeses for a more complex flavor; you can find them online at Igourmet.com. It’s also perfectly fine to use an equal amount of Monterey Jack.

For the chipotle crema:
  • 7-oz. can chipotles en adobo
  • 3/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • Kosher salt
Tip:
Crema is basically Mexican sour cream, and it’s available in most Mexican markets. Both sour cream and crème fraîche are good substitutes, though crema has a more pourable consistency.
For the filling:
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack
  • 1 cup grated Mexican melting cheese, such as queso quesadilla, Chihuahua, or Oaxaca
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese or queso anejo
  • 1 recipe Pico de Gallo 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For assembling the quesdaillas:
  • Twelve 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 2-2/3 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce (from 1 small head, quartered lengthwise)
Make the chipotle crema:

Pour the contents of the chipotles can into a blender. Rinse out the can with 2 Tbs. water and add it to the blender. Purée until smooth.

In a small bowl, whisk the crema, 2 tsp. chipotle puree, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Add more chipotle puree if you want more heat. Set aside 1/4 cup of the chipotle puree for the filling and save the rest for another use (see leftover tips below).

Make the filling and assemble the quesadillas:

Heat the oven to 200°F. Heat a cast-iron griddle or a large cast-iron pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the chicken, cheeses, 1-1/2 cups pico de gallo, and the 1/4 cup chipotle puree. Spread about 1/2 cup of the filling evenly over half of one of the tortillas and fold it in half. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

Put as many quesadillas as you can fit in one layer on the hot griddle. Cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat until all the quesadillas are cooked, keeping the finished ones warm on a baking sheet in the oven. Cut each quesadilla into 3 wedges. Fan the wedges on small plates and mound a small pile of lettuce to the side of each serving. Garnish each with 2 Tbs. of the pico de gallo and 1 or 2 Tbs. of the chipotle crema.

Leftovers

Leftover chipotle purée keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 months; use it to add a smoky heat to anything from scrambled eggs to pasta sauces and marinades for grilled meats.

Use leftover chipotle crema as you would sour cream: with tacos, eggs, or baked potatoes. It keeps for up to 3 days.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 560; Fat (g): fat g 22; Fat Calories (kcal): 200; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 11; Protein (g): protein g 40; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 49; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1290; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 105; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Great!

I made these for a Cinco De Mayo party last year and they were a great hit. Everyone insisted I make them again for this year's party. Instead of using the griddle, I cooked them on a gas grill with the burners set on medium heat. This gives them a nice crunch and a slight char.

We had these for dinner last night and they were absolutely amazing! Great dish.

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