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How to make quesadillas

publication date: Mar 27, 2012
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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I love quesadillas and they’re easy to make once you get the hang of them. Basically they’re folded, pan-fried tortillas or wraps filled with grated cheese and something else tasty - usually refried beans which I’ll explain how to make below but you can use some whizzed up prawns or leftover chicken with various Mexican(ish) seasonings.

Once you’ve made your beans, which you can keep in the fridge, you can run one up in no time. Totally addictive!

For the beans
1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil or other cooking oil
Half a bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced or 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 - 1 tsp mild chilli powder OR a few drops of hot pepper sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 a 400g can of chopped or whole tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
1 x 400g can of red kidney beans*
2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
Salt and lemon juice to taste
To finish the quesadillas. For each person you will need
One large tortilla or wrap
A handful of grated cheese - Cheddar, a white crumbly cheese like Wensleydale or feta are all good

If you’re using cumin seeds (I do because I LOVE the taste of cumin) heat a pan over a moderate heat and warm them through for a couple of minutes to release their aroma. Tip them out of the pan once they begin to change colour and set aside.

Add the oil to the pan and add the spring onions or chopped onion. Fry for a couple of minutes then add the garlic, chilli powder or hot sauce and ground cumin (plus the roast seeds, if using). Stir and add the tomatoes, breaking them down with a spatula or wooden spoon. Tip in the beans, cover the pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes until the liquid has evaporated (see below). Take the pan off the heat and mash the beans roughly with a fork or a potato masher. Stir in the chopped coriander and season with lemon juice and a little salt.

To make the quesadillas, heat a frying pan without any extra oil. Lay the tortilla or wrap in the pan and heat for a few seconds then flip it over. Spread a third to a half of the cooked bean mixture over half the wrap, leaving a border round the edge. Top with cheese, fold the other half of the tortilla over the top and press down lightly. Heat the quesadilla through, carefully turning it a couple of times until the filling is warmed through and the cheese melted. Cut in half and serve with a salad. (You can also use any leftover bean filling to stuff a lightly toasted pitta bread. Add some shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, cucumber and/or raw onion - even a bit of mashed avocado if you have some.)

* You can cook your kidney beans from scratch (i.e. from dried beans) but you’ll need to soak them overnight then bring them to the boil in fresh water and boil really hard for 10 minutes before finishing cooking them at a moderately fast simmer. Raw kidney beans can be toxic unless handled this way - not a problem with canned beans.


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