This is a great mid-week recipe and takes barely any time at all; the harissa and cajun flavours gave the beef a great kick and was delicious with the melted cheese and chunky guacamole.
This recipe came to me as I was staring at the supermarket shelves, with no ingredients in mind and no inspiration at all. Not a good place to be on a Monday night. Then I remembered that I had a bit of harissa paste in a tiny jar in the fridge and I got a craving for those flavours, with some meat, cheese and bread of course.
Harissa is a hot red chilli paste used in North African cooking, whilst quesadillas are Mexican, but both are spicy with loads of flavour so I saw no reason not to combine them.
I usually make chicken quesadillas but fancied a change this time and used lean minced beef. This went really well with the harissa and made the whole dish a bit richer. You can of course use chicken or just mixed vegetables instead. You can also adjust the amount of chilli and harissa according to your taste.
I made a simple guacamole (simple because I didn’t have half the ingredients for it, but it was lovely) and served the quesadillas with a dollop on top, along with some creme fraiche. You can also use sour cream of course.
Sometimes I will use two tortillas to sandwich together the ingredients and then flip it over in the pan. However, when I use lots of filling I find it easier to do one at a time and fold the tortilla over the top, to stop it all falling out.
This recipe serves 2. Just about.
- Prep Time : 10 minutes
- Cook Time : 10 minutes
- 250g minced beef
- 1/2 red onion - finely finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic - crushed
- 1/2 red chilli - de-seeded, finely chopped
- 1/2 red pepper - cut into chunks
- 1/2 yellow pepper - cut into chunks
- 6 chestnut mushrooms - sliced
- 2 tinned plum tomatoes
- 2 tortilla wraps
- handful cheddar - grated
- 1/2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons harissa paste
- 1 tsp cajun
- salt - to taste
- 1 tbs creme fraiche - to serve
- For the guacamole
- 1 ripe avocado - stone removed, flesh scooped out
- 1 clove garlic - crushed
- 1/2 red chilli - de-seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tbs creme fraiche
- salt to taste
- squeeze of lime
1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees to keep the quesadillas hot later on.
2. Make the guacamole - just throw all the ingredients into a pestle and mortar or a bowl and smash it all together. It's nice to have a few chunks of avocado. Cover and put in the fridge.
3. Put a frying pan on a medium heat and heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes until the onions have softened.
4. Add the beef fry for 3-4 minutes until browned. Add the harissa paste, cajun, peppers and tomatoes and fry for another 2 minutes.
5. Throw in the mushrooms and stir it all together, making sure the tomatoes have broken up and the harissa is all stirred through. Fry for about 3 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Add salt to taste. Set this pan to one side.
6. Put another frying pan on a medium heat. Place one tortilla on the bottom and cover half of it with half the cheese. Let it melt a bit (this wont take long) before spreading over half the beef mixture. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the top of the beef when it starts to brown. Flip once, then put in the oven to keep warm while you do the other one.
7. Serve topped with the guacamole, a dollop of creme fraiche and some salad.