Sweet corn, beet green, leek, and smoked gouda quesadillas

By • May 20, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe began with a longing for quesadillas while living in Africa. Armed with an empty wine bottle and a stove with one setting - deadly, we started experimenting with local market veggies. When we returned to the unbelievable realm of ingredients in US food stores, the quesadillas evolved into their current form.zabibu


Makes 8 quesadillas


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

The Filling

  • 4 ears fresh sweet corn
  • 1 medium lemon or 2 small limes
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoons ground cumin
  • fresh greens from 3 to 4 large beets
  • 1 to 2 medium leeks
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup finely grated smoked gouda
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Combine the hot water and butter in a bowl to allow the butter to melt. Let the mix cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the water-butter mixture and stir with a spoon. Once things start to stick together, switch to your hands and shape the mix into a ball. Pull in any flour clinging to the bottom or side of the bowl and knead the ball together for about 30 seconds. It should feel smooth and retain its ball shape. Let the dough ball hang out in the bowl for 30 minutes while you tackle the corn.
  3. The Corn: Remove the husks and silk, wash off the ears, and use a knife to cut the kernels into a large bowl. Add the juice from a medium lemon or 2 small limes. If you're having a citrus crisis, a small orange will also work. Sprinkle the cumin (less if you're not sure, more if you are a cumin addict) over the corn. Mix the juice and cumin in, cover the bowl with a plate and let it sit until the tortillas are done.
  4. Welcome back to the dough! Divide the ball into 8 equal pieces and let them rest on the counter or a plate for another 10-15 minutes. Heat a heavy skillet or cast iron pan on a medium flame/stove setting. Lightly flour a counter or cutting board. Take a mini dough ball, gently smash it into a disk, and roll it out to a roughly circular shape of about 7 inches diameter. Don't worry if your circle looks like an amoeba or has corners...it's all going to work out. The rolled out dough should feel smooth and elastic. The pan should be hot by now. Brush any excess flour off of the dough and place the tortilla flat in the pan. Wait for 30 seconds to a minute for the magic to happen. Bubbles should appear. After you see them, flip the tortilla over. The top side should have nice brown spots and the tortilla should start to rise. This process always takes longer with the first one. Flip it again and you should see additional bubbles expanding. When it is has a cooked tortilla appearance, transfer it to the middle of a folded towel. Repeat the process with the other 7 balls. I can usually roll out one tortilla while another is cooking.
  5. After your tortillas are cooked, saute the corn in the pan on medium with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil until it turns a golden color and tastes tender and sweet. Put the corn in a holding bowl or plate.
  6. The Greens: Wash the greens and leeks. Thinly slice the white and light green part of the leeks. Slice or dice the garlic to a size that makes you happy. Slice the beet greens into strips and chop the stems. The size of the pieces doesn't matter. If you don't want to have a dangling green while you inhale the quesadillas, opt for smaller sections. Saute the leeks and garlic in 1-2 tbsp olive oil on medium until the garlic is lightly browned and the leeks have separated. I use the same skillet for everything. Add in the beet greens and stir everything together. Saute the mix until the beet greens are dark green and tender. Place the greens in a holding bowl or plate.
  7. The finale: Group your corn and greens holding bowls and grated gouda near the skillet. You need easy access to all of the supplies. If there's still oil remaining in your skillet, wipe it out with a paper towel or some other magical absorptive material. Heat the pan on medium. When it is warm, put a tortilla in. After a minute, flip the tortilla over. The surface should feel hot. Layer some smoked gouda (the amount that matches your love of cheesy goodness), the corn mix, the green mix, and a bit more gouda onto one half of the tortilla. You can choose the amount of each substance, but you want the tortilla to close when you fold the other half over. Push down the upper tortilla surface with a spatula until the quesadilla holds together. Flip the quesadilla after 1-2 minutes (and your desired level of tortilla toastiness) and cook on the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes until all of the cheese is melted. Place the quesadilla on a serving or cutting board and repeat the process with the remaining 7 tortillas. We eat the finished product with fresh guacamole and smoked hot sauce, but they should be tasty plain as well.

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