Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas
Crisp tortillas filled with gooey melted cheddar and shredded chicken in a sweet and smoky chipotle sauce — these are the best quesadillas! The recipe is adapted from the website of Curtis Stone, one of my favorite chefs and cookbook authors.
What gives these quesadillas such distinctive flavor is the canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. They’re small peppers (usually red jalapeños) that have been dried and smoked, and they come in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce. You can find them in the Latin section of most supermarkets. The recipe calls for six peppers, seeds and all. I know that might seem like a lot, but the quesadillas aren’t all that spicy. However, if you’re making them for young children you might want to cut back a bit.
Begin by cooking the red onions and garlic in olive oil.
Add the diced tomatoes and minced chipotle peppers.
And cook until the liquid is gone and the mixture is thickened.
Stir in the shredded chicken, salt, honey, green onions and cilantro. Keep the filling warm while you prepare the quesadillas. (Note: the chicken mixture can be made up to two days ahead of time.)
Heat a flour tortilla on a griddle or in a sauté pan. Cover the entire tortilla with cheese and spread the filling over one side.
When the cheese is mostly melted, fold the tortilla over the filling into a half-moon shape.
Cook until crisp and golden, a few minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Serve immediately with sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.
To see the original recipe by Curtis Stone, click here. I altered the recipe primarily by increasing the ratio of chipotle-tomato sauce to chicken (for more intense flavor), increasing the honey (to add a bit more sweetness), omitting the avocado (I thought it was unnecessary and muted the other flavors), and decreasing the amount of cheese and filling in each quesadilla (to make them easier to eat).
Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you'll need about 6 chilis)
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1-1/4 pounds), seeded and diced
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2-1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken (white and/or dark meat)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 6 10-inch diameter flour tortillas
- 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Sour cream, for serving (optional)
- Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
- In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the chipotle peppers and tomatoes. Cook until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated and the mixture is thickened, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir in the scallions, honey, chicken, salt and cilantro. Keep warm.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Lay a tortilla in the pan and heat until hot to the touch but not crisp (air pockets may form). Flip the tortilla over, then sprinkle 2/3 cup of the cheese evenly overtop, being careful to keep it off the pan. Spread a heaping 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture over half of the tortilla. When the cheese is mostly melted, fold the tortilla over to cover the filling and form a half-moon shape. Cook until the tortilla is crisp and golden and the cheese is melted, adjusting the heat as necessary, a few minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Let the quesadillas rest a few minutes to allow the filling to set, then cut into wedges. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.
- Notes: If you have a large griddle, use that to make the quesadillas so you can make a few at a time. Also, be sure to serve your quesadillas hot of the pan (or off the griddle), otherwise, they’ll get soggy and the cheese will harden. If this does happen, you can pop them in a 350 degree oven to heat them up, but they won’t be as crisp and gooey as they are fresh. The chicken mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated.
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