Quesadillas are another regular meal around here. They come together so quickly and easily, and how can you beat a crunchy tortilla around a gooey, cheesy center? Well, to mix things up around here, I put some Indian spices in my old Mexican-American favorites. These have a much different flavor profile than your average quesadilla: heat and freshness from the chutney, mixed with the almost sweet, spiced beans, and smokiness from the mozzarella. They really only take about 10 more minutes, but are totally worth it!
Just a few notes -- I used Green Chile Chutney that I had made at home days ago, but I noticed that they sell this at my local Indian market. Also, I used some of my pre-cooked Rancho Gordo Yellow Indian Woman Beans. They were amazing in this dish, and I recommend treating yourself to them at some point. But, if you don't have an hour and a half to spend cooking beans (usually I don't!), you can go ahead and use a can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed. And, while I use a full-fat cheese here, the smoked mozzarella packs in so much flavor that you only need to use a very little bit.
Green Chile Chutney
adapted from Modern Spice, by Monica Bhide
serves 10-12 (this yields more than you need for the quesadillas)
1 cup cilantro (thick stems removed)
4-5 jalapeno peppers
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled
1. Remove the stems of the peppers. Remember to wear gloves or use plastic bags to protect your hands while you are working with them! If you want a chutney with less heat, slice the peppers in half and remove the seeds and ribs. Otherwise, just cut them into chunk and put them in a blender or mini-food processor. (I made mine with the seeds and ribs, and it yielded a very hot chutney. Please note, however, that jalapenos from the supermarket can vary a lot in terms of heat level).
2. Add the cilantro, garlic, and lemon juice to the blender. Blend until smooth, adding water if necessary. Salt to taste (and be careful when you taste, this can be hot!)
Think of these as re-fried beans with Indian seasonings! They would also make a great side dish to tandoori chicken or other grilled meats.
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 one-inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1.5 cups cooked Yellow Indian Woman beans (or substitute 1 can drained and rinsed pinto beans)
1/2 cup water (or, if you are using homemade beans, the cooking liquid works well)
1 Tbsp agave nectar (substitute 1 Tbsp sugar if you do not have this)
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
2. Once the cinnamon and bay leaf start to sizzle, add the onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften.
3. Add the cumin and turmeric. Cook for an addition two minutes, toasting the spices.
4. Add the beans, water, and agave nectar. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has cooked off.
5. Remove the pan from the heat. Use a potato masher to mash the beans. They should be thick and lumpy. Salt to taste.
Green Chile Chutney and Spiced Bean Quesadillas
serves 3-4 as a main-dish, 6-8 as appetizers
1/4 cup Green Chile Chutney
6 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 batch Spiced Beans
3-4 ounces smoked mozzarella, either sliced very thin or shredded
1. Preheat a non-stick griddle to medium heat.
2. Spread the bottom half of each tortilla with up to 1 Tbsp Green Chile Chutney.
3. Spread about 1/4 cup Spiced Beans on the bottom half of each tortilla. Top with the smoked mozzarella.
4. Fold the tortillas in half, and cooked on the hot griddle, 2-3 minutes each side. Check frequently as these can brown very quickly. I use a bacon press to weight my down -- you can use a small pan with a can on it.
5. Serve with mango chutney, plain yogurt, and chopped cilantro on the side.