Braised Pork Quesadillas That Are Better Than Takeout by Chef Pati Jinich

Skip takeout and make one of your favorite takeout orders at home.

Chef Pati Jinich, bestselling cookbook author of Treasures of the Mexican Table and James Beard Award-winning TV personality, shared a quesadilla recipe with a regional twist that makes cooking at home sound even more appealing than ordering it in.

Check out her full recipe below for a Sinaloa-style braised pork quesadilla and two different salsas.

Chillorio quesadillas

serves: 8th

To make the Chilirio:

3 pounds boneless pork loin or loin, preferably with some fat, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, divided or more to taste

4 ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded

1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion

4 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparing the quesadillas:

16 flour tortillas

2 cups shredded processed cheese such as Asadero, Quesadilla, Oaxaca, or Monterey Jack

1 1/2 tablespoons chilli fat or vegetable oil, divided

Ripe avocado slices ready to serve

Your choice of guacamole or salsa to serve


For the chilli: In a 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven, add pork, orange juice, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pork is lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Soak the chiles in 1 1/2 cups hot water for 10 to 15 minutes until tender, then place the chiles and water in a blender. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, cumin, pepper, vinegar, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth.

When cool enough to touch, shred the pork with your hands or two forks and place it and all the juices in a large bowl.

Heat the oil in the same pan that was used to cook the pork over medium-high heat. Add the chili puree and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened and darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the shredded pork and its juice and simmer until the meat has absorbed most of the chili sauce, 20 to 25 minutes. taste for salt.

For the quesadillas: Heat a large skillet or comal over medium-low heat. Once hot, add a flour tortilla and top with 1/4 cup cheese and 1/4 cup chili. Cover with another flour tortilla and heat until the cheese begins to melt and the bottom tortilla begins to lightly brown.

Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of fat or oil on top tortilla, then flip and cook for another minute.

Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining tortillas. Serve with avocado slices and your choice of guacamole or salsa.

Pico de gallo with pineapple and jícama

Makes: about 3 1/2 cups

1/2 pound tomatoes, seeded, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
1 cup finely diced peeled jicama
1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano chilies, finely chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh coriander leaves and top stems
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and toss well. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

The salsa will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Street style salsa

Makes: Generous 3 cups

2 dried chillies de árbol, destalked, or more to taste
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes or 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes
1/2 pound tomatillos (about 4), peeled and rinsed
1 to 2 jalapeños or to taste
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped white onion
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh coriander leaves and top stems
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Heat a comal or skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chilies de árbol and toast them, turning once, until toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from stove.

Place the fresh tomatoes, if using, tomatillos, jalapeños, and garlic in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until tomatoes and tomatillos are mushy and jalapeños are soft and pale, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños, and garlic in a blender. Add the canned tomatoes, if using, and the chilies de árbol, onion, coriander, cumin, and salt and pulse until coarsely pureed.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, pour in the salsa—be prepared to partially cover the pan with the lid, as it will splatter. Cook, stirring frequently, 4 to 5 minutes, until the salsa has thickened, intensified in color and flavors have combined. Remove from the heat and serve warm or at room temperature.

The salsa will keep tightly closed in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Recipes reprinted courtesy of Chef Pati Jinich.

Leave a Comment