Braised pork quesadillas that are better than takeout from chef Pati Jinich

Skip the takeout and make one of your favorite to-go orders at home.

Chef Pati Jinich, the bestselling cookbook author of “Treasures of the Mexican Table” and James Beard Award-winning TV personality, shared a regional twist on a quesadilla recipe to make cooking at home sound even more appealing than ordering in.

Check out her full recipe below for a Sinaloa-style, braised-pork quesadilla and two different salsas.

Chilorio quesadillas

Serves: 8

To make the chilorio:

3 pounds boneless pork butt or far, preferably with some fat, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, divided, or more to taste

4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

To make the quesadillas:

16 flour tortillas

2 cups shredded melty cheese like Asadero, quesadilla, Oaxaca, or Monterey Jack

1 1/2 tablespoons chilorio fat or vegetable oil, divided

Ripe avocado slices to serve

Guacamole or salsa of your choice to serve

Directions

For the chilirio: Place the pork, orange juice, water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet or Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 40 to 45 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off and the pork is lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Soak the chiles in 1 1/2 cups hot water for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, then transfer the chiles and water to a blender. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, cumin, pepper, vinegar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and puree until completely smooth.

When cool enough to handle, shred the pork with your hands or two forks and place it and any juices in a large bowl.

Heat the oil in same pan used to cook the pork over medium heat. Pour in the chile puree and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until thickened and darkened. Add the shredded pork and its juices and simmer 20 to 25 minutes until the meat has absorbed most of the chile sauce. Taste for salt.

For the quesadillas: Heat a large skillet or comal over medium-low heat. Once hot, add a flour tortilla and top with 1/4 cup cheese and 1/4 cup chilorio. Top with another flour tortilla and heat until the cheese starts to melt and the bottom tortilla begins to gently brown.

Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the fat or oil over the top tortilla, then flip and cook for another minute.

Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining tortillas. Serve with avocado slices and the guacamole or salsa of your choice.

Pico de gallo with pineapple and jícama

Makes: about 3 1/2 cups

Ingredients
1/2 pound tomatoes, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
1 cup finely diced peeled jicama
1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and upper stems
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss well. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

The salsa will keep, tightly covered, for up to two days in the refrigerator.

Street-style salsa

Makes: A generous 3 cups

Ingredients
2 dried tree chiles, stemmed, or more to taste
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1/2 pound tomatillos (about 4), husked and rinsed
1 to 2 jalapeños, or to taste
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped white onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and upper stems
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

Heat a comal or skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chiles de árbol and toast for about a minute, turning them once, until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat.

Place the fresh tomatoes, if using, tomatillos, jalapeños and garlic in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes and tomatillos are mushy and the jalapeños have softened and their color has dulled.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños and garlic to a blender. Add the canned tomatoes, if using, and the chiles de árbol, onion, cilantro, cumin and salt and pulse to a chunky puree.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, pour in the salsa — be ready to partially cover the pan with the lid, as it will splatter. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until the salsa has thickened, the color has deepened and the flavors have come together. Remove from the heat and serve warm or at room temperature.

The salsa will keep, tightly covered, for up to five days in the refrigerator.

Recipes reprinted courtesy of chef Pati Jinich.

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