Caramelized onions are one of my new favorite foods. It doesn’t matter what kind of onion it is, it always taste better caramelized. These quesadillas were very easy to make and fully of flavor. I did make one with sharp cheddar cheese just in case the blue cheese was too over powering, but the blue cheese was wonderful. (Honestly the cheddar one was very bland.) I also was able to use fresh rosemary and thyme out of my back porch herb garden (and basil of for the caprese salad on the side). Yum!
The only change I made was I used boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of thighs.
One picky taster—a self-described onion hater—said she never realized how rich and sweet onions could taste when they are caramelized.
8 skinless chicken thighs on the bone (about 4 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground pepper
Twelve 6-inch flour tortillas
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
In a bowl, toss the chicken thighs with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the rosemary, garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and let the chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sliced onions, thyme, vinegar, sugar and a generous pinch of pepper. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 30 minutes; add a few tablespoons of water from time to time to keep the onions moist.
Light a grill and preheat the oven to 500°. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Let the chicken cool, then pull the meat from the bones and tear into shreds.
Arrange 6 tortillas on 2 large baking sheets. Spoon the onions onto the tortillas and top with the shredded chicken and blue cheese. Cover with the remaining tortillas, pressing to flatten slightly. Bake for about 6 minutes, until the quesadillas are golden and toasted. Transfer the quesadillas to plates and serve right away.
MAKE AHEAD The unbaked quesadillas can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight.
WINE Zinfandel’s rich fruitiness makes it a go-to wine for much of Mexican cuisine, since it can balance spiciness as well as stand up to bold flavors. (This holds true even when an interloper ingredient like blue cheese is in the picture.) One great region for Zinfandel is Sonoma’s warm Dry Creek Valley, as evidenced by wines like the plummy 2004 Ferrari-Carano and the chocolate-inflected 2005 Dashe Dry Creek Valley.
ACTIVE TIME: 30 MIN
TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 15 MIN