Poblano Pepper Quesadillas with Roasted Tomato Salsa
I'm sneaking back in at I Heart Cooking Clubs for the last couple of weeks of cooking Rick Bayless recipes. I've had a ton of fun making his authentic Mexican dishes for the family and really enjoy his recipes. When I made these "Crusty Griddle-Baked Quesadillas" I was surprised at what a huge hit they were. I made half with the roasted poblano peppers and half plain cheese for the kids, which they appreciated since they are not yet poblano fans. The Tomato Jalapeno sauce is so yummy, it is our new go to salsa recipe and I've made it many times. I love the short ingredient list and depth of flavor. This was a fun recipe to try with the roasting of the poblano peppers and also the homemade quesadilla dough.
Essential Simmered Tomato Jalapeno Sauce
adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
* I usually make a half batch and only use 1 jalapeno so it is not too spicy for the kids
2 and 1/4 pounds tomatoes
3 to 4 fresh jalapeno chiles, stemmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced (I use about 1/2 tsp onion powder)
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Roast the tomatoes and chiles on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 6 minutes then flip and roast on the other side.
Cool, peel the tomatoes (I don't peel them), collecting all juices. Roughly chop the jalapenos (I don't bother to chop them). Coarsely puree the tomatoes (with their juices) and chiles in a food processor or blender.
In a medium size pot, heat the oil over medium. Add half the onion and fry, stirring often, until browned, about 8 minutes. (I just heat up the oil and add the onion powder with the tomato chile puree) Increase the heat to medium high and when very hot, add the tomato-chile puree mixture. Stir for about 5 minutes as the mixture sears and thickens, then reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the broth and simmer about 20 minutes, until just beginning to thicken again. Taste and season with salt. Cover and keep warm.
Crusty Griddle Baked Quesadillas -- Quesadillas Asadas
adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
For two cups essential roasted poblano rajas
1 pound 6 medium large fresh poblano chiles
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon
Roast the chiles directly over a gas flame or 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for open flame, about 10 minutes for broiler.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. Peel, pull out the stem and seed pod, then rise briefly to remove bits of skin and seeds. Slice into 1/4 inch strips.
In a medium sized skillet, heat the oil over medium to medium-high, then add the onion and cook, stirring regularly until nicely browned but still a little crunchy about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano, toss a minute longer, then stir in the chiles and just heat through. Taste and season with salt.
1 and 3/4 cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water
2 and 1/2 cups shredded Mexican chihuahua cheese, or other melting cheese such as brick or Monterrey Jack
Cut two squares of medium heavy plastic (I used a zip lock bag) to cover the plates of your tortilla press. If necessary, knead a few drops more water into the masa to give it the consistency of a soft cookie dough, then roll it into 12 balls. Cover with plastic.
Turn on the oven to the lowest setting. Heat a large griddle or heavy skillet over medium. (I just use my electric griddle at the highest setting). One by one use the tortillas press to press out the dough between the two sheets of plastic, peel off the top sheet, then flip the uncovered side of the tortilla onto your hand (the top of the tortilla should alight with your index finger and fingers should be slightly spread to give support.) Carefully peel off the plastic, then, with a gentle swift motion, lay the tortilla on the hot griddle. Evenly sprinkle on a portion of the cheese, leaving a 1/2 inch border all around so the cheese doesn't run out onto the griddle, then lay a portion of the rajas down the center.
When the tortilla comes free from the griddle (it will take about 20 seconds) use a spatula to fold it in half, and gently press the edges together, more or less sealing them. Move the quesadillas to the side to continue baking as you begin the next one. Continue making and folding quesadillas, letting them bake on the griddle until crispy/crunchy and nicely browned (the masa on the inside will still be a little soft), 2 or 3 minutes in all. Keep finished quesadillas warm on a rack set on a baking pan in the oven.
When all are made immediately line them up on a warm serving platter or wooden board or basket lined with colored paper or a napkin, and serve with salsa. (I also like some sour cream on the side.)