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Black Bean + Green Quesadilla with Lime Sour Cream

January 30, 2013
Black Bean Quesadilla

Black Bean Quesadilla

Every week, I am sure to throw a couple quick and easy meals into my game plan. Mostly because I am certain there will be at least one night where I don’t feel like cooking, and another night where I lost myself in creativity or child play only to peer at the clock which reads 5:34 p.m. and nothing has been started in the direction of feeding my tribe. I carry no shame in cutting cook time to spend the extra half hour of my life curled on the sofa with my children nestled on both sides reading And Then It’s Spring (a new favorite) as we pine for a season that brings budding leaves and sprouting tulips. Still, despite how I let the hours slip by, our grumbling tummies tell us we must eat. And soon.

Although, I love a good slow roasted cut of meat or simmering stew in the winter months as much as the next bloke, I am equally satisfied by the melding of simple seasoned chicken, a slathering of refried black beans, bits of greens, and oozing melted feta. Especially when I know it will act as my redeemer to such a late start at preparing dinner for the starving vultures (a.k.a. my children) that circle my kitchen as the dinner hour rapidly approaches.

These blessed black bean quesadillas can be on the table in less than half an hour.

Black Bean Quesadilla

When layering the ingredients on the base tortilla, leave a good inch for the ooze factor that occurs upon cutting the finished good. A couple pinches of ground cumin for flavor depth. Of course you could stir a teaspoon or two into the black beans to ensure even distribution, but really, sprinkling is so much more fun and simple.

Black Bean and Green Quesadilla

Be generous with the cilantro. Jalapeños are optional, but highly recommended. I removed the seeds and none of my itty bitties complained about their dinner being too spicy. A quick assembly, brush of the hands, and onto the hot griddle.

Quesadilla

Black Bean Quesadilla

The outsides of the tortillas can be brushed with oil before laying on a hot griddle or pan, but really, I found it unnecessary. The goal is merely to acquire a crisp, browned outer crust and gooey melted center, which is accomplished all the same without the oil brushing.

Quesadilla

It wouldn’t be fair of me to only share with you about the quesadilla because everyone knows that a quesadilla is only as good as the items in which you dip it in. In this case, lime sour cream and very simply seasoned avocado chunks, like a quasi-guac. How’s that for technical cooking terms? Feel free to mix things up here a bit and use salsa, etc. There is something about the lime with the cilantro and cumin that is lovely though. I wouldn’t want you to miss out because I didn’t mention it.

Lime Sour Cream

Black Bean Quesadilla

This could easily be a meatless dish by omitting the chicken. We’ve eaten it both ways. I prefer the texture the chicken adds. Also, if you think the feta will be too pungent for your children (it wasn’t for mine) then substitute it with a milder flavored cheese like queso fresco. Not pictured are chopped scallions that, I believe, should have made their way in there somewhere.

I will have a printable up as soon as I get some things sorted out with my site, but meanwhile, here is the recipe:

BLACK BEAN and GREEN QUESADILLA

These blessed quesadillas are a breeze to make and redeem me on nights when time has slipped my grasp. Plus, they are easy enough kids can help make them. The lime sour cream has a fresh zip that pairs nicely with the cumin and cilantro flavors, making it essential to the finished quesadilla. If using a griddle, more than one quesadilla can be prepared at the same time, moving the cooking process along faster. Feta is not typically used on a quesadilla, but my children happen to adore it and I love the saltiness it brings to the filling. Take liberty in exchanging the feta for another flavorful cheese if someone in your family doesn’t like it.

Makes 6 quesadillas

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound / 454 grams chicken breasts, seasoned and cooked
12 whole wheat (or other) tortilla shells
15 ounce / 425 gram can refried black beans
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup), rough chopped (reserve some for avocados)
4 scallions, chopped
3 jalapeños, seeds removed and thinly sliced
5 ounces / 142 grams feta cheese, fork crumbled

Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet and set to medium heat. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper and cook just until it is no longer pink in the center. Remove from pan, and let rest for 5 minutes before shredding. Meanwhile for cooking the quesadillas, wipe the skillet clean and set to medium heat or use a griddle set to medium heat. Lay out six tortilla shells and spread black beans evenly on each tortilla shell leaving a 1 inch border. Sprinkle a pinch of ground cumin on top of the black beans and season with salt and pepper. Add a layer of shredded chicken, cilantro, scallions, jalapeños and crumbled feta to each base tortilla. Top each quesadilla with remaining shells and place into hot griddle/skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted and shells are browned and crisp. Cut into wedges and serve with lime sour cream and chunky avocados.

LIME SOUR CREAM:

1 cup light sour cream
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice

Whisk the ingredients together and serve with quesadillas.

CHUNKY AVOCADOS (quasi- guacamole):

2 avocados, medium diced
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
Pinch of Kosher salt

Gently toss ingredients together and serve with quesadillas.

Note: For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken (duh!).

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