I have to tell you guys, these past couple of weeks have been brutal. Brutally busy that is. It is definitely a GOOD busy – lots of exciting design, photography and blog projects in the works. But this also coincided with my daughter’s 10th birthday, half term and just general upheaval – it is always all or nothing when it comes to life as a freelancer.
I have to confess that some days I have skipped lunch and on a couple of occasions I had cheese and crackers instead of a cooked dinner. But here’s the thing… I quite enjoy the occasional cheese & cracker feast! We are all cheese lovers in our household, down to Brutus (the dog) whose favourite treat is cheddar. And when it comes to cheddar, we tend to go for the products like Cathedral City Mature which has a distinctive, smooth and creamy taste.
I have teamed up with Cathedral City to create a recipe to showcase their their delicious mature cheddar and after nibbling on rather a lot of it – for research purposes of course – I decided that a cheesy quesadilla would be just the thing! Add slow-cooked pulled pork, black beans and avocado and you have the kind of meal that practically disappears off the plate before said plate has a chance to hit the dinner table.<
I used the slow cooker for the pulled pork as you can stick all the ingredients in and leave it to do all the work overnight. But you could also use shredded rotisserie chicken in place of it if you wanted a super-quick version of this recipe. When making the quesadillas you can layer two tortillas on top of each other with the fillings in the middle, but I find them harder to flip without the ingredients falling out. If you add the grated cheese over the entire surface of the tortilla, wait for it to start melting then add the other ingredients to one side only, you can fold the tortilla over which makes it so much easier.
Don’t be stingy with the cheese please – it acts as the ‘glue’ to keep everything together – apart from being silly delicious of course. And should any bits of cheese accidentally fall out and crisp up on the pan… well these are the cook’s perks – so sayeth my cheese rules! Likewise the last bit of the cheese block that’s too awkward to grate without grating your fingers with it… And Brutus would like to add that any bits that fall on the floor (or happen to be too close to the edge of the counter… yes, the training is going great) are his own personal property…
Love cheese? Join the club! Find Cathedral Ciry on Facebook and follow the #CheeseRules hashtag on Twitter for more cheesetastic recipes.
- For the pulled pork
- 900g | 2lbs boneless pork shoulder
- 240ml | 1 cup beer (can replace with stock)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp ancho chilli powder
- 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- a little vegetable oil to sear the pork
- 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) to thicken the sauce
- For the quesadillas
- 5-6 medium tortillas (folded over they make 10-12 quesadillas)
- 200g | 14oz (more if needed) Cathedral Mature cheddar, finely grated
- 100g | 3.5oz black beans (from a can) rinsed and drained
- 1 large ripe avocado, cubed and mixed with 1tsp lime juice
- fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish (optional)
- Season the pork with salt and black pepper. Heat a splash of vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Sear the pork on all sides for several minutes and set aside.
- Put all the ingredients apart from the pork in the slow cooker and mix together. Add the pork and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Transfer the pork to a platter and cover loosely with foil. Let it rest for 15 minutes and then shred with a fork, discarding any fat.
- Strain the liquid from the slow cooker into a small saucepan. Mix the cornflour with a splash of cold water and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced. Check the seasoning and then mix with the pulled pork. Keep the pork fairly dry though if there's lots of sauce otherwise the quesadillas can become a bit soggy!
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Add a tortilla to the pan and immediately cover the entire surface with grated cheese. As soon as the cheese starts to melt, add the pulled pork, a sprinkling of black beans and few cubes avocado to one side of the tortilla.
- Fold the tortilla over to encase the fillings and lightly press down with a spatula. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool slightly before cutting in half - this will make it easier to slice.
- Repeat until you have used up all the tortillas and fillings.
Depending on how generous you are with the fillings, you may end up with more quesadillas than specified above.
You can use refried beans instead of black beans and shredded rotisserie chicken instead of the pulled pork if you prefer.