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Mexican Slow Cooked Chilli Beef Quesadilla

Updated: Apr 18

Slow-cooking is a culinary technique that I find incredibly satisfying as it turns an inexpensive cut of meat into a delicious and tender dish. For this recipe, I chose to use beef shin, although any beef cut with a high connective tissue content would work just as well. The flavourful beef was combined with sautéed peppers, onions and chipotle paste then placed inside a tortilla with Mexican cheese, before being pan-fried to perfection.

To elevate the flavours, you can add some of your favourite toppings such as guacamole, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, salad, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

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What is Quesadilla?

A quesadilla is a popular Mexican dish made by filling a tortilla with cheese and other ingredients, and then cooking it until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy. Quesadillas can be enjoyed as a snack, a light meal, or as part of a larger meal.

The history of the quesadilla can be traced back to the colonial period in Mexico, when Spanish settlers introduced wheat flour to the indigenous population. Prior to this, tortillas were made from corn, but with the introduction of wheat flour, a new type of tortilla was born. Quesadillas became popular in central Mexico, particularly in the state of Oaxaca, where they were traditionally filled with stringy Oaxacan cheese, also known as quesillo.

Today, quesadillas are enjoyed all over Mexico and around the world, and they come in many variations. Some popular variations include:

  • Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza - These are filled with squash blossoms, cheese, and sometimes other ingredients like mushrooms or epazote.

  • Quesadillas de Huitlacoche - These are filled with the black fungus that grows on corn, known as huitlacoche, along with cheese and sometimes other ingredients like onions or garlic.

  • Quesadillas de Chicharrón - These are filled with crispy pork skin, cheese, and sometimes other ingredients like salsa or avocado.

  • Quesadillas de Rajas - These are filled with strips of roasted poblano peppers, cheese, and sometimes other ingredients like corn or black beans.

  • Quesadillas de Tinga - These are filled with shredded chicken in a tomato-based sauce, along with cheese and sometimes other ingredients like chipotle peppers or onions.


This recipe makes: 4 portions

Ingredients for Beef Quesadilla:

How to prepare Beef Quesadilla:

1. Marinate the beef in cumin, paprika, chili powder, marjoram, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of oil. You can marinate the beef the day before or at least 30 minutes before cooking.

2. Fry the meat with onions on high heat to colour and transfer to the slow cooker (you can use a pot or leave it in the same pan as well) add stock to cover the meat and add one tsp of salt. Set the slow cooker on high setting for 3-4 hours (for overnight cooking, keep the beef in larger pieces and set on low setting)

3. While the beef is cooking, fry the sweet peppers on medium heat for about 10 minutes, and set them aside for later.

4. When the beef is tender, remove it from the slow cooker, and let it cool for a few minutes in the cooking juices. Then, remove it from the liquid, and shred it with your fingers. Mix the shredded beef with the fried sweet peppers, chopped parsley, tomato paste, chipotle paste and some of the meat cooking juices.

5. Brush one side of the tortilla with olive oil and place it on a heated frying pan. Add cheese to one side and top with the shredded beef mixture. Once the tortilla is golden-brown, fold it over and flatten slightly.

6. Remove the quesadilla from the pan and cut it in half before serving. Enjoy with your favourite Mexican toppings!

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Cooking Tips for recipe:

  • Don't have a slow cooker? You can use a pot and cook the beef on a low heat setting on the stove for several hours, or until tender.

  • When frying the sweet peppers, make sure to not overcook them to retain their crunch and texture in the quesadilla.

Did you know?

  • Meat surface browning is not only about making your dish look more appetizing, but it also plays a crucial role in intensifying the flavour of the meat. This is due to a chemical process called the Maillard reaction, which occurs when the surface of the meat is exposed to high heat. During this process, the natural sugars and amino acids in the meat react to form a complex network of hundreds of new flavourful compounds, giving the meat a unique and delicious taste.

  • Meat lovers, did you know that slow cooking can transform an inexpensive cut of meat into a melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece? This is because the slow and low cooking process at a temperature of around 70°C (158°F) causes the connective tissue in the meat to break down and dissolve into gelatine. This natural process results in tender and flavourful meat that falls off the bone.

Check out my other Mexican Recipes:

  • Cochinita Pibil - I highly recommend giving my Cochinita Pibil recipe a try. The combination of the juicy, slow-cooked pork and the tangy and flavourful Red Recado marinade make for a truly unforgettable taco experience.

  • Salsa De Aguacate - Prepare this delicious salsa in no time, It is simple and delicious! It works great as a dressing for salad, dip for fried chicken.

  • Chilli Non-Carne with Quorn - Looking for a delicious and meat-free twist on classic chilli? Try out this recipe for Chilli Non-Carne with Quorn - it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

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