Double Decker Sweet Potato and Sausage Quesadillas


Sweet Potatoes. They aren’t just Thanksgiving food for us anymore. No longer are they like batty Aunt Helga who only gets invited around for holiday dinners for fear of what she might say. And even then, her peculiar ravings get smothered under a sweet blanket of “Yes Aunt Helga, dear” and “How nice you look today dear Aunt Helga” or “Have some more sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows Aunt Helga dear.”

No more. With this recipe begins a new era where sweet potatoes are invited to regular family dinners, like Mexican Night or Italian Night (sweet potato gnocchi, anyone?). Who knows, sweet potatoes might even score an invite to Pizza Night.

The tricky part with this recipe is heat control while cooking the quesadilla. If the heat is too high, the tortilla will burn before the cheese is melted. If it’s too low, the tortilla will never brown but just get soggy from the oil. So, this is not a dish that can just be left to cook. It requires what can only be described as futzing. While each stove is different, I found it helpful to keep the heat high when the quesadilla first goes in to brown the tortilla, but then watch closely and turn it down (or even off) to allow the cheese to melt. A heavy cast iron skillet is probably your best bet here, as it will evenly distribute heat so you don’t get patches of burned tortilla.

Have you ever heard of a garden fresh sweet potato? Think there’s not a difference between store bought and homegrown sweet potatoes? I beg to differ. The sweetness is more intense, with a slightly smoky undertone. Unfortunately, it’s too late in the season to start sweet potatoes. But for my Columbia friends, you can get the hook up at City Roots. We currently have several different varieties of heirloom sweet potatoes, including a purple variety. While the baskets are brimming right now, stock up now for the winter (like those holiday dinners with Aunt Helga) because we will have sold out by then. Farmer’s tip: go for the dirty ones. They keep better than the washed ones.

Double Decker Sweet Potato and Sausage Quesadillas

6 flour tortillas
1/2 lb of sausage
2 small or 1 large sweet potato
1 lb of shredded Monterrey jack or mozzarella cheese
1 bunch fresh cilantro
olive oil
sour cream

Heat oven to 300°. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place on oven rack. Bake until a fork easily pierces them, about an hour. Remove and let cool. In a small pan, cook the sausage till done. Turn off the heat and set aside. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and remove the peel. It should slip right off. Chop the potatoes into even piece, as you would an onion. On a large plate, place the first tortilla. Evenly spread about half the sweet potato pieces. Top with 1/4 of the cheese. Place the next tortilla on top. Evenly spread out half the sausage and snip some cilantro over it. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese. Top with the third quesadilla. Repeat with the other half of ingredients. Heat about a tablespoon (or two drizzles around the pan, if you measure like me) of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully slide the quesadilla off the plate and into the pan by gently pulling the bottom tortilla while sliding the plate out. Don’t try to flip it, or you’ll end up with filling everywhere. Adjust heat to allow cheese to melt before tortilla burns. When the tortilla is golden brown and the bottom layer of cheese is melted, carefully flip over and allow other side to brown and melt. When crisp and oozy, remove to a plate and let cool for 2 minutes. Then cut into four wedges (eight altogether) and serve with sour cream.

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Posted in Uncategorized 12 years, 1 month ago at 6:18 am.

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