Last Valentine’s Day I was given a subscription to Food Network Magazine and I love it. It is always chock full of wonderful and inspiring photos and recipes and every time I flip through it I come away with a ton of ideas for new recipes.
The most recent one showed up earlier this week, so of course I immediately dropped everything I was already doing to sit down and devour it! I didn’t even realize Hubby was reading over my shoulder until he pointed at the page I was reading and said
“Hey, will you make those?”
He was pointing at a recipe for Pork and Sweet Potato Quesadillas.
So I said “Ok!!”
And then I promptly forgot all about it.
A couple of days later at the grocery store Hubby asked if I knew what ingredients we needed for the quesadillas and I said something like,
“Oh, um, not exactly, but I can figure it out…” and sent him off to find a butternut squash. He returned about seventeen seconds later with a large squash and said,
“But, didn’t the recipe call for sweet potatoes?”
Oh yeah. That.
As I fudged my way through the rest of the ingredients I realized that I hadn’t really read the recipe at all. I mean, what’s hard about quesadillas, right? Apparently the hardest part is getting the ingredients straight!
In any case, the combination of ingredients I chose still came out really delicious, and was really very easy to make! I’ll give you my recipe below, but you can also find the original recipe that inspired it here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pork-sweet-potato-quesadillas-recipe/index.html
You’ll want to begin by baking your sweet potatoes. Use your favorite method (I like to poke mine full of holes, wrap ‘em in foil and roast ‘em at 400° for an hour or so. You can do whatever you want! Just promise me you will bake more than one and use the others for something else. I just can’t justify the energy needed for roasting if you are going to bake just one).
When the sweet potatoes are tender, pull them out of the oven and let them sit out until cool enough to handle, then peel and mash them.
(Here is where I should have added a little ancho chile powder, or chipotle powder, or Spicy Chipotle Sauce if I’d had any on hand. But I didn’t. Don’t make the same mistake as me…add some chile powder and a smidge of salt to the sweet potatoes!)
While the sweet potatoes are cooling, make the meat filling.
First of all, I used chorizo instead of simple ground pork. I kinda thought just plain pork might be a bit bland. I suppose the spices in the recipe really would have been plenty of seasoning, but I almost always find that using sausage adds a huge boost of flavor for virtually no work at all! Plus it was on sale.
Brown the chorizo in a large skillet over medium heat.
Once it is broken down and beginning to cook, push it all to the side and pour a little oil into the other side. Add in one small diced onion, and (if you want) a sliced jalapeno.
Let all of this sauté until the chorizo is browned, and the onions are tender and caramelized. If the meat begins to scorch, pour in a little water and scrape the brown bits up off the bottom of the pan.
Once everything is cooked through and brown, turn the heat off and add some minced garlic. Stir this all up, taste and adjust the seasoning, and set the mixture aside.
Now, line up all your ingredients and let’s make us some quesadillas!
Heat a large, dry skillet over medium heat.
Begin assembling your quesadillas by spreading about 1/3 to ½ a cup of sweet potato over one enchilada sized tortilla (I think these were about 8” tortillas…anyways, you can use whatever size you like, this one just seemed right to me!)
then top the sweet potato with about the same amount of chorizo filling…
…then top this with a good amount of cheese.
Let’s talk cheese.
I used Asadero cheese. It is a semisoft Mexican cheese that is very salty and has a mild flavor (it sort of reminded me of American Cheese). It melts smoothly and becomes very creamy. I’d never used it before. It was really delicious, but I was wishing for that chewy, stretchy, melty texture that you get from cheddar. Plus, it sort of melted out the sides and made a general mess of my skillet.
So anyways, the moral of the story is: Asadero is delicious and I would encourage you to use it. But if you like a stretchy, tangier cheese, sharp cheddar or cheddar jack or even pre-shredded Mexican blend would also be super delicious!
Now top all this with another tortilla, then brush the outside with a little olive oil. Put the quesadilla oiled side down in the skillet and let it cook until golden brown, crispy and melty. Brush the other side with oil and turn. Cook until the other side is done.
Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Serve with some diced avocado or a refreshing salad.
CHORIZO AND SWEET POTATO QUESADILLAS
1 medium sweet potato
1 tsp chipotle powder, ancho powder, or chili powder
½ Lb bulk Chorizo sausage
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (if desired)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Begin by baking the sweet potato until tender. Set aside.
Make the Chorizo filling:
Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the Chorizo, breaking it down as it cooks. When it is partially cooked move it to one side of the pan and pour a little oil into the other side (if the chorizo is particularly greasy drain it before this step). Add in the onion and jalapeno (if using). Allow this mixture to cook until the sausage and onion are caramelized and cooked through. If needed, pour a little water into the skillet to loosen up the brown bits. Cook until the water has evaporated completely, then turn off the heat and stir in the garlic.
Begin heating another large skillet over medium heat.
Peel and mash the sweet potato with the chili powder and a little salt.
Spread some sweet potato over a tortilla. Top with Chorizo filling and cheese. Top this with another tortilla. Brush the top tortilla with olive oil and place (oiled side down) in the skillet. Cook until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is golden brown, then flip and cook until the other side is also golden brown. Move to a platter and keep warm.
Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling (this recipe makes 3-4 quesadillas, but could easily be doubled or more!).
Eat and be happy!
ON A SIDE NOTE
I told you yesterday that Martini and Antipasti Day is Saturday, October 30th. I lied. Next Saturday is October 29th! The error has been corrected in that post, but I wanted to point it out here too.
So the party is next Saturday (October 29th!), and you are still all invited! I apologize for any confusion!