Chicken Quesadillas with Serrano Chiles and White Cheddar

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 4 to 5 quesadillas
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For the chicken:

2 pounds chicken thighs (about 5 thighs)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for cast iron skillet

1 medium onion, chopped

5 or 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried cumin

1 (26-ounce) can chopped tomatoes

2 limes, juiced

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 to 10 flour tortillas

1 (8-ounce) can whole serrano chiles, roughly chopped

8-ounces grated sharp white Cheddar

Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. Season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Brown the chicken well on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and saute onion, garlic, oregano and cumin for a few minutes. Stir in tomatoes, lime juice, sugar and salt. Add chicken back to the sauce bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove chicken from cooking liquid and let rest until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat from the bone and toss with the cooking liquid. Discard the bones and skin.

Assemble and cook the tortillas:

  1. Rub a cast iron skillet lightly with vegetable oil and heat over medium flame.
  2. Sprinkle cheese all over the tortilla. Top with pulled chicken, serranos and another tortilla. Toast on each side in the skillet until warmed through and cheese has completely melted. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.