Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

Sometimes the success of a simple meal rests on a single component. This recipe is an example, and the single component is sauce. Homemade barbecue sauce. Even if you have a favorite store-bought sauce, it’s worth taking a little time to make your own.

You could make a big batch and let it simmer for hours, but, here, I made only a small amount and cooked it less than 30 minutes. The taste truly is richer—and the satisfaction deeper—than what you get out of a bottle.

Quesadillas are simple and easy, no matter what you fill the tortillas with. Barbecue chicken gives these a little southern flair.

Makes 2 quesadillas

  • 1-3/4 lbs bone-in chicken thighs (about 6 small thighs total)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, finely chopped
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 10-inch flour tortillas (burrito-sized)
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a baking pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until cooked through and very tender, 1 hour, depending on size. Transfer to a work surface.
  3. When cool enough to handle, discard the skin and pull the chicken from the bones, shredding it.
Ready to Bake 
Baked Chicken
  1. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the garlic, serrano, and chipotle chile and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato sauce and next 7 ingredients (through cumin) and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 20 minutes.
  3. Add the shredded chicken and cook until hot throughout, 5 minutes.
Garlic Mixture
Tomato Sauce Mixture Added
Cooked Barbecue Sauce
Chicken in Sauce
  1. Lay the tortillas on a work surface. Divide the barbecue chicken on 1/2 of each.
  2. Scatter the cheese and onions on top, then fold the other sides of the tortillas over top, pressing down gently.
  3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil. Lay 2 quesadillas in the pan and press with a grill press or large spatula. Continue pressing until the bottom tortilla begins to crisp and has grill marks, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Turn and grill until the other side has grill marks and the quesadillas are hot throughout, 2-3 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the other quesadillas.
Chicken Layer
Cheese and Onion Layer
Beginning to Grill
After Turning
Cut each quesadilla in half and serve.

Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

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