The Quesadilla Purist is Corrupted by the Pastry Queen

Yes, another Pastry Queen dish, further experimentation for next Saturdays Tex-Mex Fiesta. Curiously, only two of the recipes I’ve ever cooked from this book actually use pastry. Perhaps I’ll make the Bourbon Apple Pie next weekend to level the field a bit.
Back to the meal in question: Brisket and Brie Quesadillas. I am a Quesadilla purist. I like them with cheese and nothing else. This could be down to a bad experience at a restaurant in Door County where I ordered a roast chicken Quesadilla and was served something that resembled an oil slick on a plate. Full marks go to the chef for trying to obscure this greasy mess with copious amounts of grated carrot and other vegetables that should never see the inside of a salad bowl, much less garnish a Mexican dish. However, I cannot forgive a restaurant that doesn’t serve salsa with a Quesadilla and the nearest thing that they have to sour cream is “mayonnaise or tartare sauce, ma’am?”
I am a generous person by nature though and I thought I’d at least try it. After removing much of the oil from my plate with several paper napkins and a high suction industrial vacuum cleaner, I gingerly nibbled a corner and was greeted with a yummy mouthful of....gristle and bone fragments. Yum! My favourite!
I delicately pushed the plate to the side and picked at my husbands fries. He, who was sensible enough to order the quarter-pounder, gallantly offered me half of his lunch but I couldn’t take food from him. Besides, I was feeling much too nauseous after that unpleasant mouthful. Paul tasted the Quesadilla and noted sinisterly that he had “tasted worse.”
That experience was over five years ago now (five years!) and since then I have only partaken in ‘virgin’ Quesadillas. That is until yesterday. It took the Pastry Queen to change my mind but there I was, yesterday afternoon, cooking a big hunk of beef in Coca Cola, with every intention of stuffing flour tortillas with it.
You heard right, Coca Cola.
Well, it’s not so unusual. People have been cooking ham in Coke for many years so why not beef? It gives the outside of the meat a rich, caramel colour, slightly sweet but not overtly so. The inside is tender. Those damn bubbles, they work their magic so effectively!
So, whilst the beef (I actually used silverside and not brisket but I won't change the title because I enjoy the alliteration) was stewing in its Coca Cola bath, I made the barbeque sauce that Rebecca Rather suggests you serve with the beef.
I'm not generally a fan of Barbeque sauce, finding it much too smoky tasting but this recipe, which utilised ketchup, mustard, worcestershire sauce, fresh onion and garlic and mango chutney was quite revelatory. It was tangy, sweet and moreish.
Once the beef and sauce are prepared, you're good to go. Slap a flour tortilla in a hot frying pan (or on a griddle if your kitchen is super hi-tec), shred the beef with your fingers on top of the tortilla (or serve in manly hunks if you prefer), then dot chunks of Brie on top of that, grate some cheddar on top of that, finishing with a layer of the barbeque sauce, another tortilla and cook for about five minutes, turning part way through once the bottom has started to toast.
We served our Quesadillas with Sour Cream and some Pico de Gallo that Paul made (a very simple, fresh tasting salsa comprising of chopped onion, chopped tomato, chopped chilli and chopped coriander. Yes, that's a lot of chopping).
And what was our conclusion? We loved the beef. It was tender, slightly sweet and more went in our mouths than in the Quesadillas. Paul wants to replicate the beef and put it in Tamales.
The Brie and the Barbeque Sauce I probably could have done without. The Brie, tangy as it is, was engulfed by the sauce and the other cheese, so seemed a slight case of overkill. The sauce itself was good but I would be tempted to serve the Quesadilla with just the beef, cheese and some spring onions, then the salsa on the side. But then, as I said, I'm a purist.
BEEF AND BRIE QUESADILLAS serves 2, with enough for sandwiches the next day.
1lb Piece of Silverside or Brisket
1 Can Coca Cola (DO NOT USE DIET!) but any generic brand will do
1 Teaspoon Chilli Powder
2 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 Teaspoon Salt and Pepper
Flour Tortillas (4)
Wedge of Brie (optional)
Some Cheddar or, more traditionally, Monteray Jack, for grating
Barbeque Sauce (optional. I haven't replicated the recipe here, email me if you would like it or refer the Pastry Queen book)
Pico De Gallo
Sour Cream
Preheat oven to 170c.
Mix together the Chilli Powder, Salt, Pepper and Garlic and rub all over the piece of beef.
Place beef in a baking dish and pour over the Coke.
Cover with foil and roast for at least 2 hours.
Once the beef is tender, trim off any excess fat.
Cut the beef into thin slices or shred.
Heat a large frying pan or griddle and lay a flour tortilla in the pan.
Layer up with the beef, cheeses and Barbeque Sauce if using. Place another tortilla on top and cook for a couple more minutes or until the bottom is toasted.
Carefully flip over the Quesadilla and cook for a few minutes more.
Cut into wedges and serve with the Sour Cream and Pico De Gallo.

20 plum tomatoes or 4 large tomatoes diced
1 medium onion diced
2 chillies diced very finely
large bunch coriander chopped coarsely
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp water or lime juice

Mix all ingredients and let stand for at least ten minutes.


Homesick Texan said...

Mayo or Tartar sauce on a quesadilla? That sounds awful!

wheresmymind said...

I'm always wary of anything that is called 'Beef'...I sounds so vague..what is beef? I don't know...if it was called 'steak' or 'brisket' I'd feel better ;)

Kathryn said...

The quesadillas look delicious (wouldn't eat the pico de gallo because I don't eat raw tomatoes...). I suppose she does say brie is optional (but how can it be optional if it's in the recipe title? Hmm). All your Tex Mex food is very tempting and makes me hungry and eager to dive in! Looking forward to hearing what you actually cook on Saturday!

Kathryn x

Brilynn said...

Now I'm craving quesadillas, I haven't made them in ages.

Writing At The Kitchen Table said...

Homesick, I know, I couldn't believe it and I'm not even Texan OR Mexican, I'm just from Essex!

Jeff,it's the element of surprise that make meat eating so challenging..

Kathryn, I added the optional element simply because I felt it was a bit of overkill. Therefore, I suppose, the recipe becomes Beef and Cheese QUesadillas which sounds more like something you'd get at a gas station in the US! I couldn't eat raw tomatoes until last year but I conquered my fear through eating yummy vine tomatoes which taste so much better than those incipid pale ones you get in the supermarket!

Brilynn, this is a good recipe to start with!

Freya x