Friday, July 30, 2010

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

When one of our friends came over to hang out the other night we celebrated her recent move to New York by ordering BBQ from Rack & Soul on the UWS.  Now I haven't tried everything that Rack & Soul has to offer yet, but I can say that everything I have tried has been delicious.  Their fried chicken was phenomenal, and their ribs and pulled pork were nothing to scoff at either.  The only thing I didn't like from there was their collards, but I am very very picky where collards are concerned.  Anyway, after ordering ourselves a serious BBQ feast we had a few ribs leftover, some sides, and a ton of pulled pork (the only measurement I can think of is sandwiches and we had enough left for roughly 2 nicely stuffed pulled pork sandwiches).  The first thought that came to mind as I tried to come up with a way to use the rest of that pulled pork was to make quesadillas with it.  Actually, what first came to mind was tostadas, but that thought quickly passed and the idea of quesadillas replaced it.  Then I had to decide whether to make my quesadillas more Mexican-inspired, or stick with a BBQ flavor profile.  In the end I chose to go with Mexican-inspired, so we added jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, scallions, red onions, and cotija cheese.  If I had decided to stick with BBQ-inspired quesadillas I was thinking Monterey Jack cheese, red onions, garlic, and greens of some sort (speaking of collards, we have those in the fridge from the CSA too).

Generally I am a big fan of cooking up my quesadillas in a frying pan on the stovetop, but this time I decided to try to cook them in the oven.  Since I didn't leave the office until 7pm and we had a long evening ahead of us I wanted to get all of our quesadillas cooked as soon as possible (and with as little effort on my part as possible).  Except I forgot to spray them with Pam before I threw them in the oven so they were a little drier and crispier than I had intended.  Oops.  We tried topping the quesadillas with Tabasco, tomatillo salsa, and Korean BBQ sauce.  Somehow we were out of both regular BBQ sauce, regular salsa, and sour cream.  Alex and I both agreed that the tomatillo salsa was definitely the way to go.  BBQ sauce was just too sweet and the Tabasco totally obscured the taste of the pork filling.  Perhaps in the future we will use a mix of cotija and Monterey Jack cheeses so that the quesadillas have more melty, gooey cheese in the filling.  While I love the taste of the cotija, it's more like Parmigiano-Reggiano in that it never melts and forms a gooey cheese filling.  If you have leftover pulled pork or some rotisserie chicken in the fridge, this is a really nice, easy meal that you can throw together with very little effort.  If we had any sweet corn left it would have been a perfect side dish if tossed with some lime juice, tomatoes, avocado, and maybe a pinch of dried cumin.  Maybe next time!

Recipe after the jump!

BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 of a large red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, finely minced (I left the seeds in, but you can take them out)
3 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
1 1/2 cups pulled pork, broken up into small pieces
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
8 8-inch diameter tortillas
1 cup grated cotija cheese
nonstick cooking spray
salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
sour cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add vegetable oil.  Saute onions, garlic cloves, and jalapenos together until the onions are beginning to become translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add scallion whites and pork.  Saute, stirring often, until the pork is warmed through, about 1 minute.

Place 2 tortillas down on a rimmed baking sheet.  Divide half of the pork mixture and cheese among the quesadillas.  Sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro.  Top with another tortilla.  Spray tortillas lightly with nonstick cooking spray, or brush lightly with vegetable oil.  Cook quesadillas for 10 minutes, turning them with a spatula and spraying the tops with more nonstick cooking spray, after 5 minutes.  Remove quesadillas from oven, and repeat with remaining tortillas.

Remove the quesadillas from the oven when the tortillas have begun to turn golden in spots, and the cheese has melted.  Slice into quarters and serve quesadillas garnished with scallion greens and cilantro with salsa verde and sour cream.

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