Beef & squash quesadillas with black beans, salsa & soured cream recipe image

Print Beef & squash quesadillas with black beans, salsa & soured cream

Quesadillas are the ultimate Mexican comfort food. It’s the Central American equivalent of cheese on toast. At its very simplest, a quesadilla is just a soft tortilla filled with cheese, folded, fried and served with a blob of salsa. This base is the jumping off point for a myriad of variations.

Ingredients

  • 1 small squash
  • Oil for roasting e.g. sunflower
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 large or 2 smaller shallots
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 30g coriander
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tin black beans
  • 200g beef fajita strips (either strips of stir-fry beef, thinly sliced escalopes or steak if you’re feeling wealthier)
  • 50g Cheddar
  • 4 tortillas
  • 100ml soured cream
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200˚C/Gas Mark 5. Peel the squash, split it in half and remove the soft, seedy core with a large spoon. Chop the squash into 2cm chunks. Place the squash in the roasting tray, cover with oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the dried chilli and mix well. Place in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender and slightly coloured at the edges.
  2. While the squash roasts, make the salsa. Deseed the chilli and finely chop. Peel and finely chop or crush 1 garlic clove. Peel and finely dice the shallot(s). Coarsely dice the tomatoes. Wash the coriander, shake it dry and roughly chop it, stalks and all. Cut the lemon into 6 wedges. Mix the chilli, garlic, shallots, tomatoes and half the chopped coriander together. Season with salt, pepper and the juice from 2 of the lemon wedges.
  3. Open and drain the tin of black beans. Season the beef strips with salt and pepper. When the squash has 5 minutes of cooking left, tip the black beans into the roasting tray too. Mix well and return to the oven for the final 5 minutes.
  4. Place the frying pan onto a high heat. When very hot add 1 tablespoon of oil. Fry the beef strips furiously for 2 minutes until well browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and keep to one side. Give the pan a wipe clean.
  5. Remove the squash and beans. Drop the oven down to 100˚C/Gas Mark 1-2. Using a fork or the back of a spoon give some of the beans a light press to break them up. It helps to keep everything together in the tortilla.
  6. Lay out the tortillas. Divide the bean and squash mix between them and spread evenly over one half of each tortilla. Do the same with the beef, then some chopped coriander and finally the cheese. Fold the empty half of the tortillas over to give you 4 stuffed semicircles. Press down and flatten. Brush the pan with a little oil and fry each one until lightly coloured and crisp on each side. Keep warm in the oven until you’ve fried them all.
  7. Cut the tortillas into wedges and pile them onto plates. Serve with the salsa, a generous blob of soured cream, the remaining lemon wedges and coriander.

Cooks notes

For this recipe, I’ve gone for a wintery combo of beef, beans and squash. But take this idea and develop your own interpretation if you make it again.
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