Check out my Recipe for delicious Quesadilla Con Carne, prepared with slow cooked beef and chipotle. Authentic Mexican Food prepared at your kitchen!
Slow-cooking is a culinary technique that I find incredibly satisfying as it turns an inexpensive cut of meat into a delicious and tender dish. For this recipe, I chose to use beef shin, although any stewing beef cut with a high connective tissue will work just as well. The flavourful beef was combined with sautéed peppers, onions and chipotle paste then placed inside a tortilla with Mexican Oaxaca cheese, before being pan-fried to perfection. So good!
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Introduction to Beef Quesadilla
A quesadilla is a sought-after Mexican dish, primarily made by enveloping cheese and an array of ingredients within a tortilla. The final touch is given by cooking it until the cheese has melted seamlessly and the tortilla sports a crispy texture. Depending on one’s appetite, quesadillas can be savoured as a snack, a light meal, or even as an integral part of a grand feast.
Historical Roots of the Quesadilla
The quesadilla’s lineage can be traced back to the colonial epoch in Mexico. This was a transformative period when Spanish settlers introduced the magic of wheat flour to the indigenous folks. Before this culinary revolution, corn was the sole foundation for making tortillas. However, wheat flour’s introduction birthed a new genre of tortilla. This innovation spurred the popularity of quesadillas, especially in the heart of Mexico – the state of Oaxaca. Here, they were predominantly filled with a stringy delight known as Oaxacan cheese or “quesillo”.
Slow Cooked Beef Quesadilla: A Global Delight
Today, the fragrance and taste of quesadillas waft beyond the borders of Mexico, winning hearts globally. As with any dish that travels, it morphs and evolves, leading to a plethora of variations. Some of the crowd-favorites include:
- Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza: A unique blend of squash blossoms and cheese, occasionally accompanied by mushrooms or epazote.
- Quesadillas de Huitlacoche: These feature the intriguing black fungus that thrives on corn, known as huitlacoche. Cheese is a constant, with additions like onions or garlic making occasional appearances.
- Quesadillas de Chicharrón: A meat lover’s delight, these are packed with crispy pork skin and cheese. Some even add a dash of salsa or a slice of avocado for that extra punch.
- Quesadillas de Rajas: Filled with strips of roasted poblano peppers and cheese, these might also contain corn or black beans.
- Quesadillas de Tinga: A chicken lover’s paradise, these quesadillas are brimming with shredded chicken drenched in a tomato-based sauce. Cheese is a staple, with chipotle peppers or onions being the surprise elements.
How to prepare delicious Quesadilla Con Carne:
Quesadilla Con Carne
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- 14.1 oz Diced Beef Shin - (400g) or other stewing cut high in connective tissue
- 5.3 oz Oaxaca Cheese - (150g) or substitute with mozzarella cheese
- 7 oz Bell Peppers - (200g) seeds removed and sliced
- 1 Onion, medium size - roughly chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves - minced
- 1 tsp Mild Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Oregano - dried or fresh
- 2 tsp Paprika - Hungarian Szeged brand is best quality
- 1 tbsp Chipotle Paste
- 2 cups Beef Stock - (500ml) or Vegetable Stock
- 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 handful Parsley - chopped
- 1 tsp Salt
- 4 Medium Sized Wraps
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- In a bowl, combine cumin, paprika, chili powder, marjoram, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the beef, ensuring it's well-coated with the marinade. For optimal flavour, marinate the beef overnight. If pressed for time, marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- In a heated pan, fry the beef alongside onions on high heat until they develop a nice color. Transfer the beef and onions to a slow cooker. (Alternatively, you can use a pot or continue using the same pan.) Pour in enough stock to cover the meat and season with a teaspoon of salt. For a quicker cook time, set the slow cooker to high and let it cook for 3-4 hours. For overnight cooking, use larger beef pieces and set the cooker on a low setting.
- In a separate pan, fry the sweet peppers on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Once done, set them aside.
- Once the beef is tender, remove it from the slow cooker. Allow it to rest in its juices for a few minutes before taking it out. Shred the beef using your fingers. In a mixing bowl, combine the shredded beef, fried sweet peppers, chopped parsley, tomato paste, chipotle paste, and a portion of the meat cooking juices.
- Lightly brush one side of a tortilla with olive oil. Place it oiled-side-down on a heated frying pan. Sprinkle cheese on one half of the tortilla and top it with the shredded beef mixture. When the underside of the tortilla turns golden brown, fold it over and press gently.
- Once cooked, remove the quesadilla from the pan and cut it in half. Serve hot and enhance the flavours with your favourite Mexican toppings like guacamole, roasted tomato salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, salad, and a dash of fresh lime juice.
Slow Cooker Alternative: If you don’t have a slow cooker for your beef shin slow cooker method, you can use a pot stove method. Cook the beef on a low heat setting on the stove for several hours, or until tender. This method will still yield a delicious slow-cooked beef quesadilla.
Ground Beef Quesadilla: If you’d like to make a Quesadilla Beef using ground beef instead of beef shin, you can do so. Brown the ground beef thoroughly in a pan with seasonings, breaking it up into small pieces. This will result in a chilli beef quesadilla flavour, especially when combined with the same spices. Ensure to drain excess fat before adding it to the tortilla. Adjust the cooking time, as ground beef cooks faster than beef shin.
Texture: Shredded beef quesadilla has a unique texture due to the way the beef breaks down. If using ground beef, you won’t achieve the same shredded texture, but the flavour will still be delightful.
Pepper Frying: When frying the sweet peppers, ensure they are not overcooked. Retaining a bit of their crunch enhances the texture contrast in your Beef Quesadillas.
From the Chef Lukasz
I hope you enjoyed my recipe for Quesadilla Con Carne. It is surely on of the best Mexican Dishes. Let me know how you found the recipe, or any personal tweaks you made?