Aired March 14, 2017
*Hatch chilies are large and shiny green, with a full flavor that sets them apart from other varieties. Grown in Hatch, New Mexico, they are worth waiting for. Markets throughout the region celebrate their late-summer arrival by roasting them outdoors in special rotating drums. Hatch chilies are becoming available outside the Southwest, so look for them at gourmet markets and well-stocked supermarkets. Anaheim or poblano (fresh ancho) chilies are good substitutes.
About 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
12 ounces fresh Mexican-style chorizo, casings removed
4 large fresh Hatch*, Anaheim or poblano chilies (about 10 ounces total), seeded and cut lengthwise into long thin strips
2 1/4 cups (about 11 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
Four 9-inch flour or whole wheat tortillas
Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the canola oil, then add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo into a bowl; set aside. Pour out all but one tablespoon of the fat from the skillet, or add more canola oil if needed.
Add the chilies to the skillet, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until crisp-tender and lightly charred. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a medium bowl, mix the Jack cheese and queso fresco together. Brush one side of each tortilla with canola oil then turn the tortillas oil-side down on the work surface.
For each quesadilla, sprinkle a heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture over the bottom half of a tortilla and top with one-fourth each of the chorizo and the chilies, then another heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the filling and press lightly to compact.
Working in batches, place the quesadillas on the griddle and cook, turning halfway through cooking, for a total of about 6 minutes, or until golden brown and the cheese is melted. Transfer to a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve hot.
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