Hye Thyme Cafe: Chicken and Corn Quesadillas

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chicken and Corn Quesadillas

Chicken and Corn Salsa Quesadillas : Hye Thyme Cafe

I never thought about it until just now, but it's kinda funny that, like with pizza, I'll experiment with all kinds of things in a quesadilla, but given that a quesadilla is pretty much a grilled-cheese sandwich on flour tortillas, why is it that I don't play around with grilled-cheese?? Sure, I'll throw in a few slices of bacon on occasion, or maybe some tomato, but that's pretty much it. Truth is, I don't really even play around with the bread when it comes to grilled cheese. Makes you wonder ... early childhood programming I suppose. 

It was my sister who got me making these, although I don't recall if she puts anything else in hers. I also can't remember how they came about, but I think one of the guys may have been looking for a snack one day and she opened the pantry, saw the salsa and thought hmm, why not? They were so good, we've been making them ever since. These would probably be extra awesome if you included some caramelized onion, but who wants to stand around doing that for a grilled cheese? Not me! I'll have to plan on making these sometime when I'm already caramelizing onions for something else. When it comes to a grilled cheese/quesadilla, speedy is part of its charm. Caramelized onions do not qualify as speedy!  

Flour tortillas
Shredded (or diced) cooked chicken
1 jar of a corn salsa of your liking
Shredded cheese - Mexican blend, Pizza blend, Monterey Jack, etc., whatever you like
A bit of butter, oil, or cooking spray
Any garnish you might want - sour cream, cilantro, jalapenos

I used cooking spray, so I gave my pan a quick shot of PAM and heated it over medium, popped in one tortilla to lightly brown on one side, then replaced it with the next to brown on one side.

Place one tortilla on your work surface, browned side up.  You can leave the stove on since you'll be back to it in a jiffy, but don't leave the pan on the burner empty!

Sprinkle the tortilla with a thin layer of cheese, not quite to the edges - you don't want it to ooze out when it melts.

Flour tortillas browned on one side
Top with a layer of shredded cheese.

Top the cheese with a layer of the corn salsa.  I use a slotted spoon to remove it from the jar so I can drain off some of the liquid. A little is nice, so it will heat up, help melt the cheese and infuse with it, but you don't want your quesadillas to be drippy.

Top with a layer of drained corn salsa.

Top that with a layer of your chicken. By the way, the container pictured above is one I had in the freezer. I keep reading about people cooking chicken in bulk and freezing it for later use, so I decided to give it a shot. I'll probably stick to freezing just leftovers, as it did seem to have dried out some. It worked out OK for this application because it was mixed with nice melty cheese and saucy salsa, but when I ate a bite plain, I definitely noticed the texture difference.

Top with a layer of shredded or diced cooked chicken.
Top your chicken with another layer of cheese and slap the second tortilla over the top, browned-side down.

Top with another layer of shredded cheese.
Cover with remaining tortilla, browned-side down.

Things like this are one of the reasons I love those thin flexible cutting boards - you can just bring it over to the stove and slide the quesadilla right into the pan without having to pick it up and risk anything escaping along the way.

Return the pan to the burner and cook until nicely golden on the bottom, then flip to repeat on the other side. If you're afraid of the flip or don't have a big spatula handy as an aid, just cover the quesadilla with a plate and flip the pan over so it's now on the plate, then slide it right back into the pan. Just be careful not to burn the wrist of the hand you're holding the plate with on the edge of the hot pan.

Brown on both sides until golden and cheese has melted.

Slice into wedges and enjoy with your favorite garnish(es). I'm kind of a purist. I don't mind a little sour cream on occasion, but I'd prefer to have my fixin's inside the quesadilla. A lot of people like to dunk theirs in soup like a grilled-cheese. You won't catch me doing that either, but to each their own.  

Slice into wedges and serve hot.

Garnish with sour cream, fresh cilantro, etc.

Chicken and Corn Salsa Quesadillas

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