Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Ancho Chile Shrimp Quesadillas

I've always found that quesadillas are either hit or miss.  I've had good quesadillas and I've had really crappy - like, watery quesadillas.

And this is actually one thing that I don't make very often - even though I really like quesadillas.  But, for whatever reason - I just never seem to get around to having them.

And then, one night, on a whim I just decided that I couldn't go another second without trying these quesadillas from the Homesick Texan.

Sometimes that happens.

Now - Lisa's original recipe calls for an actual ancho chile - buuuuuut....  They aren't that readily available in the city where I live.

Isn't there some kind of quote about improvisation?  Along the lines of mother of invention?  I can't remember.

Never mind.  Let's get on to these quesadillas.

First - you're going to start with the shrimp and make a marinade.

Now - because I didn't have an actual ancho chile I substituted 1 Tablespoons anch chile powder.

I combined everything into the blender and whirled it all together so that it would emulsify.

Then I poured it into a Ziploc bag.

You guys.  The smell in there.  I could make a vat of this and just - swim around.

Then add the shrimp and squoosh it around so that it's coated with the marinade.

Now - these DO take some planning because the shrimp need to languish in this marinade for between 2 and 8 hours.  Believe me - it's worth it.

Then get the filling bits ready.

That just means shredding some cheese and chopping some cilantro.

Then, when the shrimp has languished for as long as you can possibly wait, melt some butter in a pan.

Confession - Lisa's recipe wasn't really clear about this.  It's says to "toss with the pan sauce" - but I didn't have any "pan sauce".  So I threw in the shrimp when the pan was hot and added in the marinade at the same time.

I'm still here so it's probably fine to do that.  I honestly have no idea if that's strictly food safe or if I have guts like a hyena.

Once the shrimp was cooked, I removed it from the pan and cut each shrimp in half.

Then I returned it to the pan to keep it warm.  I split the shrimp as much as I could for each quesadilla.

So, at this point, you could just put a small tortilla on a pan over medium heat to start heating it over, add the shrimp, cheese, and cilantro, put the second tortilla on top and flip it to melt the cheese......  OR.  You could do this.

And I kind of INSIST that you do this.  Arteries be damned.

Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat.  When it's hot, add the first tortilla and cook it for about 30 seconds.

Then add the cheese.  One ounce of each kind.

Add 1/4 of the chopped shrimp.

And some cilantro.  There's a lot on that shrimp and it was totally fine.

While this is happening, I recommend heating more butter in a separate pan over medium heat, cook the second tortilla on one side for 30 seconds, flip and cook for another 30 - 45 seconds.

Take the second tortilla, place it over top of the shrimp.

And serve.

Oh. my. GAWD.  I can barely tell you how much I loved these quesadillas.

Wanna know WHY I insisted that you make these MY WAY?

The tortillas kind of get flakey and fluffy and wonderful.  They literally go from being discs of flour tortilla to these leavened morsels of heaven.

Nevermind that they're slathered in butter.

I loved, LOVED, these..  They're simple and straightforward, but you could dress them up with jalapeno and bacon (these were actually noted on Lisa's original recipe) - but with the flavour from the marinade and the cilantro, you don't really need it.  At least I didn't.  I didn't even bother with sour cream or salsa!

And the cheese.  You could use whatever cheese you want to - but Monterey Jack is beautiful for melting and the Muenster cheese offsets the Monterey's sweetness with is salty tart flavour.

I could go on and on.

Also - I'm completely obsessed with ancho chile seasoning.  I love the smoky sweetness of it.  I've used it in other recipes and I am totally enraptured.

I hope you fall as deeply in love with ancho chile powder as I have.  And that you love these cheesy, smoky, sweet quesadillas as much as me.  

I've probably had them 10 times.

xoxo - Heather

Ancho Chile Shrimp Quesadillas

1 Tablespoon ancho chile powder
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Salt to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1 pound small, raw shrimp
Butter, as required
8 six-inch flour tortillas
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Muenster cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Combine the ancho chile powder, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, allspice, cayenne pepper, garlic, and salt in a blender.
  2. Blend until well combined and emulsified.
  3. Pour the marinade into a large Ziploc bag.  Add the shrimp and roll the shrimp around to coat thoroughly.
  4. Marinate in the fridge for 2 to 8 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, heat one tablespoon in a pan over medium heat.  When the pan is hot.  Add the shrimp in a single layer and top with the marinade.
  6. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side until no longer opaque.  The shrimp will curl when its cooked.
  7. Heat two pans over medium heat. 
  8. In the first pan, melt a tablespoon of butter.  Place a tortilla in the butter and cook for about 30 seconds, until it puffs.
  9. In the second pan, melt a tablespoon of butter, turn the cooked tortilla from the first pan over onto its uncooked side into the second pan.
  10. Add 1 ounce of Muenster cheese, 1 ounce of Monterey Jack cheese, 1/4 of the cooked shrimp, 1 Tablespoon of cilantro.
  11. In the first pan, melt another tablespoon of butter.  Place a second tortilla in the butter and cook for about 30 seconds, until it puffs.  Flip the tortilla over and cook for another 30 seconds.
  12. Place the second tortilla on top of the shrimp and press together.
  13. When the cheese is melted, serve.
  14. Repeat steps 8 - 13 until all the tortillas and shrimp are used up.
Slightly Adapted from:  Homesick Texan

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