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Friday, September 7, 2012

Smoked Chicken Quesadillas

This could technically be an addition to the 'Chopped Refrigerator Challenge" Hall of Fame, since we had smoked chicken from Labor Day, but that shouldn't really count as a left over, since we specifically smoked a lot of meats to eat all week long, and freeze for future use. I love the whole smoked chickens, we used to go to a Hutterite Farmers Market twice a year near my home town twice a year to stock up on them. One of my favorite preparations was always smoked chicken salad sandwiches, which may make an appearance here later this week. I had some avocado just about to turn in the refrigerator, so I needed to make something with those, and salsa fresca is our favorite way to use those up. With the leftover tortillas from fish tacos, quesadillas seemed like a smart transition.

Smoked Chicken Quesadillas 
To smoke the chicken:
2 whole chickens, about 5 pounds each
3 quarts water
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup pickling spice
Combine these ingredients together, and immerse chickens in the brine. Let soak overnight. Remove from brine in the morning and pat dry.

For the rub:
2 tablespoons lemon pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon black pepper
Mix spices together and rub chickens thoroughly with spice mixture. Place on smoker, and smoke at 200-225 for 6-8 hours until meat reaches an internal temperature of 185. Remove from heat and let rest for 30 minutes.

For the quesadillas:
1 cup smoked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup queso fresco
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tortillas

For the salsa fresca:
6 roma tomatoes, diced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, diced finely
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all the ingredients in a bowl just before you are ready to serve.

To assemble the quesadillas, place one tortilla on your board. place half the queso fresco on it, then half the chicken. Top with half the cheddar cheese, and another tortilla. Repeat for a second quesadilla. Heat a small non-stick spray pan and brush lightly with olive oil. Toast the quesadillas lightly on each side until warmed through, and cheese is melted. Place on a serving plate, cut in quarters, and top with salsa fresca.

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