Football Frenzy Part 1: The Cheesey Beef Quesadilla

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ok, I'll admit it....
this is super fatty and not that great for you. But it tastes effing awesome and amazing and it's perfect beer and hang over food. So there. Judge me if you will, I don't care.
Football season officiall begun so to celebrate, I'll be offering a few recipes for you to make your next game. They're easy, taste great, are meant to go with or without alcohol (read: beer), and can be made to scale to suit your crowd. First up, a simple but super tastey quesadilla...
Ground beef is seasoned with a mixture of smoky paprika and a combination of chile powders, cumin, and earthy oregano and sauteed with onions and lots and lots of garlic until softened and tasting incredible, then layered with a mixture of monterey jack and sharp and mild cheddar cheeses into simple flour tortillas, then grilled until golden and perfect. Slice and serve. It comes together just that fast and is a perfect football food for your next game.
This recipe makes 2-3 quesadillas, good to serve 4-8 people depending on portions. You can easily double the recipe to suit a larger crowd, and make the quesadillas to order.

Cheesey Beef Quesadillas
1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 small white onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp spanish paprika
3/4 cup beef broth
1 package flour tortillas
butter at room temperature
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar
sour cream for serving (optional)
spicy pickled jalapeno peppers (optional)

First prepare your ground beef mixture. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the ground beef and using a spatula or wooden spoon, begin to break up the beef. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the onions right into the beef and mix to combine. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the spices(cumin, ancho chile, oregano, paprikas) and mix to combine, then pour in the beef broth. Use the liquid to help pick up any "brown bits" along the bottom and sides of the pan. Lower heat to medium-low and cook until all of the broth is absorbed, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust with seasoning to taste. Set aside.

This can be done up to a day in advance. (Reheat before ready to  make quesadillas if making in advance.)

To make the quesadillas:

Mix all of the cheeses in a bowl. Set aside.

Take a tortilla and spread a thin layer of butter on one side. Repeat with another tortilla. Set one tortilla into a non-stick pan, buttered side down, and add a layer of cheese. Spread out an even thick layer of the ground beef mixture, then top with some more cheese. Add the other tortilla, buttered side facing up at you. Cook on medium heat -- checking to make sure not burning (if burning or cooking too quickly, reduce heat to low) -- and gently pressing down with a spatula. Flip the quesadilla over in one quick motion and cook the other side until cheese is melted inside and both sides are a nice golden brown.

Remove from pan and let stand a couple of minutes for cheese to settle. Cut with a pizza slicer or sharp knife into wedges and serve hot with sour cream and pickled jalapeno peppers if desired.

These are best made to order, but they cook quickly so you won't miss much of the game at all!

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