Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sweet Potato Quesadillas: An Adventure in Mashing

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Poor imitation, then, must be even more gratifying to the one being imitated.  Pioneer Woman, this one is dedicated to you.  I don't know if you were the first blogger to include step-by-step photos in your recipes, but you are certainly one of those who does it best.

Shout out completed, I will procede to the task at hand: dinner.  What do you feed a hungry man returning from a long day at the office, when you want to be a little creative but not spend too much time or money to get there?  Why, sweet potato-chicken quesadillas, of course!

I'd like to give credit where credit is due, of course.  The basic version of this recipe originally appeared in EveryDay with Rachael Ray, so you can find the unadultered recipe by Sarah Ellis there.

Anywho, to begin, you will need:
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
4 10" flour tortillas
1 1/2 c. shredded, cooked chicken breast
2 c. shredded colby jack cheese
assorted favorite "Mexican flair" spices
Serves 2

First, cook the sweet potato in a pot of boiling water until softened, about 10 minutes.

While the pot's a-boilin', drain and rinse your black beans.

Sure, they don't look nearly as pretty as the orangey potatoes in a fog of steam, but they're magical in their own right (wink wink).

Since I know you're speedy with that, go ahead and chop your cilantro and toss it in with the black beans.  Add more if you like!

I sauteed two chicken breasts ahead of time and kept them in the fridge so they'd be cool enough to handle.  Nope, it doesn't look like a regular pale chicken breast.  That's because I used plenty of those Mexican-flair spices!  Chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne... even a little oregano!

Shredding chicken: neither as labor-intensive or as messy as you might think.  Simply use one fork to hold the chicken, the other fork to pull the meat toward you.  Work with the grain, if chicken has a grain.

Ah yes, my little sweet potatoes are nice n' tender.  Use a wooden spoon to mash up those cute little sweet potatoes.  Mash them pretty well - nobody wants a chunk of that in their quesadilla.


Dump the black beans and cilantro in with the mashed sweet potatoes.

Mash the beans up with the sweet potatoes.  You're really getting good at this!  Sure, add some more Mexican flair if you want to.
Now we're moving to the topping-your-quesadilla part.  I'm not going to insult your obvious intelligence here with detailed instructions.

I will point out that if you are better than me at mashing, your sweet potato-bean mixture might spread a little easier across your tortilla.  Put your toppings on two of the tortillas and then press the other two tortillas on top of them.  I didn't measure out two cups of cheese.  Just sprinkle (or dump) it to your little heart's content!

This is my ingenious device, which helps things cook faster in the skillet.  Can you tell I am an impatient individual?

Finished product!

Top with salsa and/or sour cream and enjoy!  We liked these quesadillas almost better cold.  You can taste the chicken and cheese a little more clearly then.

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