Quesadillas de Costilla

I can hardly believe it but my Alaska cruise is almost here! So in order to give myself a much needed break from the blogging world and of course have time to pack, this will be my last post until I’m back in early June. But be sure to follow along with my adventures through Facebook as I’ll be posting pictures periodically. To like The Red Headed Traveler click here.  I have no doubt that Alaska will offer some INCREDIBLE photo opportunities  which I can’t wait for and more importantly, can share with you all! 

My trip to Arizona back in March included a visit to the stunning locale of Sedona. However, since I was only there for the day, I unfortunately didn’t have the time to dine at The Elote Cafe (it’s a dinner only place). That didn’t mean I hadn’t heard raves and accolades for it-everyone from my brother to Internet reviews to shopkeepers at Tlaquepaque. So when I saw The Elote Cafe Cookbook at one of the shops I went into (Cucina Sedona by the way, highly recommend shopping there), it seemed like this would be the next best thing. You know me, where beautiful cookbooks are concerned, I can never say no even if I am amassing cookbooks at a much faster speed than I’m trying out recipes.

Those beautiful Sedona red rocks

In the time since my Arizona trip,  sadly I’ve only tried  one (did I mention I started a new job  shortly after my return involving a longer commute and unfortunately, less time for culinary exploration). However, the one recipe I made was terrific. Although I had so many amazing sounding ones to choose from (Flautas de Pato, Tamal de Chocolate, and Goat Cheese Fundido,  for starters), I ended up going with the Quesadillas de Costilla. The recipe was  quite simple, and I loved the idea of eating quesadillas with a meat filling rather than the ubiquitous chicken or vegetable.

Short ribs I adore (for another terrific short ribs recipe I’ve made before, click here). And these short ribs were no exception. The sauce that the ribs slow cook in was delicious. It had just the right amount of spice  without being fiery,  and even though I am by no means a beer drinker, the inclusion of  beer in the sauce was superb.

Naturally, once all done and assembled, my quesadillas did not look nearly as glamorous as the ones featured in the cookbook, but they sure were still damn good. And even though I’m not usually a quesedilla fan (I much prefer Mexican street style tacos or my ultimate favorite, enchilladas), these quesadillas de costilla got me…they got me hard. I can only hope whenever I do return to Sedona that one, I spend the night  so two, I can have the opportunity to dine here. Because if the cookbook is any indication, it sounds like an incredible place.

A few substitution notes regarding ingredients:

I used cotija cheese instead of Oaxacan cheese 

I used Dos Equis Amber beer as my store had no Negra Modelo beer for sale

Quesadillas de Costilla 

Recipe courtesy of The Elote Cafe Cookbook by Jeff Smedstad

3 pounds bone-in short ribs

2 cups chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

8 guajillo chiles, stemmed

1 bottle dark Mexican beer such as Negra Modelo

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons Mexican oregano

2 cups water

large flour tortillas

a chunk of Oaxacan cheese, shredded

Guacamole to serve alongside (optional)

Pico de Gallo to serve alongside (optional)

slivered fresh cabbage or other garnishes as you like

-In a large saucepan over medium high heat sear the short ribs until well browned on all sides, in batches if necessary, then remove them from the pan. In the same pan, using the fat from the ribs, brown the garlic and onion. Then add the remaining ingredients and simmer for one minute to soften the chiles. Let the mixture cool, then pour it into a blender and puree until smooth.

-Put the ribs into a large roasting pan and pour the sauce over. Cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees F for 3.5 hours or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let the meat cool, then pull the bones out and chop the meat. Reheat the chopped meat in the sauce. Place a flour tortilla in a large dry skillet. Spoon the meat mixture onto the tortilla and top with some shredded Oaxacan cheese. Toast the tortilla until the cheese is melted. Fold over to enclose the filling, remove to a cutting board, and cut into wedges for serving. Repeat for additional quesadillas.

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