Chicken Dinners: Tomatillo Chicken Quesadillas
For over a month, I've had a big bag of fresh tomatillos that I froze from from my Mexican shopping excursion in the States in February, and I could not wait another minute to cook with them. Tomatillos, a common ingredient in Mexican cooking, taste fresh and tangy—perfect to go with the limes and cilantro that were hanging out in my fridge. Looking through recipes with tomatillos, I spotted a terrific looking fresh tomatillo salsa from Martha Stewart. I could have just settled for salsa with chips, but I really needed something for dinner. Quesadillas! Not just bar snack food, they can make for a quick, fun, and super easy dinner as well. The best thing about them (other than being fast) is the versatility. You can pretty much toss in whatever you've got on hand. This version has the tomatillo salsa, shreds of cilantro-simmered chicken, and Monterey Jack cheese. (As much as I wanted Mexican queso, I assumed it would be too crumbly to hold the quesadillas together).
While I knew that I'd be starting from scratch and cooking my own chicken, if you've got cooked chicken around, go for it. The meal will get on the table that much quicker. For the salsa, I tweaked Martha's recipe a little bit according to what I had on hand and it was still delicious. I mean, how can you really go wrong with cilantro, limes, and jalapenos? The salsa chops up in seconds with a food processor. My salsa was more watery than I expected, due to the thawed tomatillos, so I set it over a strainer. (This step may not be necessary if starting with the fresh fruit). The quesadillas take about 4 minutes each in a hot pan, cooked just long enough to melt the cheese and crisp up the tortillas. Sprinkled with hot bottled green sauce, these quesadillas gave me my much needed Mexican fix.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.