I take after my dad in many ways– my endearing disorganization (can’t blame me for trying to make it sound like a good thing), my creativity, and of course, my desire to cover anything and everything in jerk seasoning if given a chance. There was always a jar of Walkerswood in the fridge growing up, and I loved it more and more every time we rubbed it on chicken, turned it into a marinade for shrimp, or just straight-up scooped it on to our plates to use as a condiment for whatever we were eating. (Seriously, and I still do this. It’s that good.)
By the way, this isn’t a sponsored post by Walkerswood or anything like that, but Walkerswood is the only jerk seasoning brand worth buying, at least in my area. There are varying degrees of spiciness, so make sure you pay attention to the label when picking up a jar.
Anyway, jerk seasoning got me started, but I’ve come to realize that I really just love Jamaican food in general. The crunchy tostones, the red beans and rice, the flavorful fruit– it’s all got it’s own special place in my food-loving heart, and I’ve been trying to think of a cool way to combine it all for months now. Finally, I came up with the idea of throwing it together in a quesadilla, but I had NO IDEA how amazing it would turn out to be.
I’m a huge quesadilla fan and up until now, the Athenian Chicken Quesadillas reigned supreme in my book. But these Jamaican Jerk Chicken Quesadillas… they just have it all. Top it with some Mango Salsa and you’ll think you died and went straight to a Caribbean-flavored heaven.
I know this picture is essentially the same photo as the one before, but I didn’t have time to get a diverse array of shots.
Because the quesadillas disappeared.
It’s not because I ate them or anything, but how could someone resist when there’s warm, melted cheese just BEGGING to be eaten? Hypothetically of course. Like I said, I totally didn’t eat these in the middle of taking pictures. And then I definitely didn’t lick the plate clean of the little bits of jerk chicken and cheese and beans that fell out.
I’m not a good liar.
But I am good at steering people in the direction of good food, and just in case I haven’t made it perfectly clear so far– this is good food. Make it for a party or for dinner, and you won’t be able to get enough!
For the Quesadillas:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 3-4 tablespoons Walkerswood mild Jamaican jerk seasoning
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/2 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 4 large flour tortillas
- 12 oz creamy havarti cheese
- 1 green plantain, made into tostones
For the Mango Salsa:
- 1 mango, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/3 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in the chicken breasts. Boil the until chicken is fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Check to make sure there is no pink remaining, but don’t overcook or the chicken will be rubbery.
- Shred the chicken with two forks and mix in a large bowl with the jerk seasoning and orange juice. Add the kidney beans and cilantro and toss to combine.
- Make the tostones and then drain out the excess oil from the pan, leaving just enough to prevent the quesadillas from sticking to the pan. Heat to medium.
- Layer the quesadilla fillings as follows: tortilla, cheese, tostones, chicken and bean mixture, cheese, tortilla. You should have enough for 2 large quesadillas. Make sure none of the fillings are too close to the edges of the quesadilla or they will spill out when the cheese begins to melt.
- Put the quesadilla in the pan and cook on each side until golden brown and the cheese is completely melted.
- While the quesadilla cooks, mix together the mango salsa ingredients.
- Serve the quesadilla warm with the mango salsa on top.
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