Have you ever wished upon a dish? A meal so memorable that you wished you could eat it again? Well, that was the theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge. Find a meal that was memorable from a recent vacation and recreate it in a healthier fashion. For me, whenever we go on vacation whether it’s near or far, I have to admit, I get a little food obsessed, wanting to try new things but also remembering that not everyone in my family is quite so adventurous.
But in October 2011, we landed in San Diego, California and among all the restaurants we visited, we found one that we had to go to twice during our week long stay. The Barefoot Bar and Grill was the most relaxing place with its beautiful sunset over the water, dining tables on the patio (shoes required) and patio heaters to take the chill out the air in the darkness. Our kids loved this spot too because it had a little waterway that was buzzing with sealife including multiple small sharks, sting rays and so many other cool things. Seeing these creatures in the wild was spectacular.
One late evening, we dined in the dark after the sun had set but the tiki torches were lit and the patio heaters kept us warm. We tried theCarnitas Quesadilla Stack made with smoked pulled pork, green chiles and pepperjack cheese. And it was topped with Ancho Chile Salsa and sour cream. It was so delicious. On to recreating this dish – if only I could bring back the scenery along with it.
Carnitas Quesadilla Stack with Peach Salsa
Makes 4 stacks of quesadillas (you will have leftover pork)
Carnitas (Shredded Pork):
- 3 lb. pork sirloin boneless roast (extra lean, more so than pork shoulder/pork butt)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 large onion, peeled and cut in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- the juice from one lime
- 2 cups water
- 1 medium orange, halved
- 3 peaches, diced (keep peel)
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- Juice from half of lime
- 4 whole wheat tortillas, large size
- 2 cups shredded Hatch Chile Pepper Cheddar Cheese (can use pepperjack)
- 1 Hatch Chile Pepper, blistered, skin removed and finely diced
- Heat oven to 275 degrees. To make carnitas: Combine pork, salt, pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice and water in large, oven-ready deep skillet or Dutch oven. Juice orange and add juice to pot along with orange halves. Cover pot and place in oven. Cook 2 to 2.5 hours. Stir occasionally.
- Remove pot from oven. Remove pork to separate bowl. Set aside. Remove and discard orange halves, onions and bay leaves. Place pot over medium high heat and simmer liquid, stirring frequently until it reduces to approximately 1 cup, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shred pork. Fold in reduced liquid. FYI – the pork can be made 1-2 days ahead of time, store in refrigerator.
- To make salsa: stir diced peaches, onion, pepper, cilantro and lime juice together and set aside.
- To make quesadilla stack: Heat panini press to medium high heat. Fill half of tortilla with 1/2 cup cheese, 1/3 cup preshredded pork and 1 tablespoon diced Hatch Chile Peppers. Fold tortilla and set on press. Carefully close lid. Cook 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and grill marks appear on top of tortilla.
- Cut each tortilla into 4 quesadillas. Stack one on top of each other, top with peach salsa and a dollop of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream).
This dish will take you to San Diego where Mexican influences on food run strong and you can smell the beach in the air. An amazing family vacation.
Be sure to check out the other Recipe ReDux members for more great recipes.