Weeknight Wonders {Brie and Brisket Quesadillas & Tortilla Soup}

This Weeknight Wonder post is a two-for-one kind of deal {soup and quesadillas}, and technically could be considered a three-for-one deal since the brisket can stand alone as a scrumptious main course.

First, Brie and Brisket Quesadillas.  {My mouth just watered as I typed those words.}  Smoky, tender, succulent brisket, dressed with a dabble of barbecue sauce.  Creamy, melty Brie and  Monterrey Jack cheese.  All held together in a buttery, crisp, grilled-to-perfection flour tortilla.

Holy Moses, are these ever good.

But wait, there’s more.

Texas Tortilla Soup is sublime.  In my opinion, the garnishes are usually the best part about tortilla soup {avacado, cheese, sour cream, chips and cilantro could make a bowl of tap water taste good}, but not so with this soup.  The garnishes are nice, but the soup is full of flavor all by itself.  Chunks of chicken, a tomato-chile broth, and sweet kernels of corn.  If love were a bowl of hot soup, it might taste like this.

Ready to dive in?  Let’s talk about meat…

Brisket can be your best friend, but it is also pretty daunting.  The original recipe for the brisket portion of Brie and Brisket Quesadillas calls for a 3-pound brisket.  I have yet to find a 3-pound brisket.  The only briskets I find look like an entire side of a cow wrapped in plastic, and they weigh around nine pounds.  We feed a lot of people over here, so I buy the 9-pound hunk of meat, triple the spices, triple the cooking time, and don’t mind a bit that we have lots of meat left over.  At around $20, this 9-pound slab is very cost-effective.  I use the extra meat to make brisket tacos, barbecue brisket sandwiches, or I freeze it for future dinners.  So, gear up for the fact that you too may have to come home with way more meat than you need for the quesadillas.

Once you have your half-cow home, you need to dress it up a bit before it hits the oven.  Garlic, chile powder, salt, and pepper get rubbed into the meat.  I took a few pictures so you can see what it should look like…

{Mooooo.}  Notice that the brisket is fat-side down in the beginning.

See the nice coating of salt on the meat?  That’s just flavor waiting to happen.  The recipe does not specify how much kosher salt to use because it will vary from brisket to brisket.  Hear me say, you can’t really over-salt a hunk of meat like this.  Make sure you have a nice coating all over the surface of the meat similar to what you see above.

Once the meat is seasoned, get ready to be confused.  You are going to pour a can of Coke {or three, if you’re cooking a whole cow like I am} in the bottom of the pan.  Don’t ask me why.  I didn’t write this recipe, I just know the results are delicious.  Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake.

Halfway through, flip the meat so that the fat is on top.  This will keep the meat moist for the second half of the cooking process.  You need to season the fat side with a healthy dose of kosher salt.  Don’t forget to recover it.  Like I said before, this brisket makes a lovely main course all by itself.  But today it is destined for greater things, so let’s move on.

To finish the quesadillas, combine the brisket, a bit of barbecue sauce, Brie, and Monterrey Jack cheese between two flour tortillas, and grill until melted and toasty.  Bingo.  I dare you not to like these.

Guess what goes great with Brie and Brisket Quesadillas?  If you said Tortilla Soup, you’re a winner!

Reality check time.  The recipe for Texas Tortilla Soup comes from The Pastry Queen cookbook.  Rebecca Rather {remember her from the Tuxedo Cake?} has presented a wonderful recipe for this soup.  However, it is quite involved.  Not difficult, just involved.  Personally, there are times when I want to roast my own tomatoes, boil my own ancho chile, and  prepare the chicken from scratch {seriously, I’m not being sarcastic}.  But there are also times when I just need to whip together some tortilla soup for crying out loud so I can get dinner on the table.

I have found some ways to make this soup more weeknight friendly, and have included two printable versions of the recipe below.  But listen carefully, my sweet reader, for I would not want you to be led astray.  There is no substitute for the real thing.  The original recipe is going to be the best version of this soup.   There are three substitutions I make to reduce the time it takes to make this soup, and for each one you choose to use, you will take a hit in the quality of the final product.

Instead of roasting the tomatoes in the oven…

I use three cans of Hunt’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes.

Instead of roasting my own chicken…

I use Tyson Grilled and Ready Fajita Chicken Strips.

And instead of boiling my own dried ancho chile, I use ancho chile powder in addition to the chile powder that the recipe already calls for.

I speak from experience {especially lately} when I say that even with all three short-cuts, this soup rocks.

Do you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth from today’s Weeknight Wonder post?  I sure hope so!

{Brie and Brisket Quesadillas}

{Texas Tortilla Soup, the original version}

{Texas Tortilla Soup, the quick version}

: : : : : : : : : : POST UPDATE : : : : : : : : : : :

My dear friend Paige asked a great question.  Can any of this be made ahead?  The answer is absolutely.  The brisket can be made ahead, as can the soup.  Both would be wonderful weekend projects that would provide several meals during the week.  Thanks for asking!!


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7 Responses to Weeknight Wonders {Brie and Brisket Quesadillas & Tortilla Soup}

  1. Andrea Johnson says:

    lots of “mmmms” floating around the table! whole family loves the soup!
    big winner! love the shortcuts!

  2. When I cook a brisket I shred and save the leftovers in little freezer baggies (just enough in each bag to use in one other meal)… That way, I have enough to supplement 3 – 5 other meals down the road. I try to make my one brisket travel at least 3 – 4 cultures (BBQ/USA, Tacos/Mexico, Stir-Fry/China, etc.) If you change the “culture”, no one complains about leftovers!!!!

  3. Krista says:

    Yum Yum– ready to go buy brisket!

  4. Flora says:

    My aunt makes a spareribs dish with Coke and it tastes fabulous. I can’t wait to try out the tortilla soup and the quesadillas. I’ve never thought of using brie. By the way, can you share some of your fab recipes that don’t contain any dairy for the lactose-intolerant folks?

  5. Andrea Johnson says:

    I love the way you dress the soup. Beautiful!
    That’s how my aunt does her brisket too, is with Coke. Definitely counts for at least 2 meals here! But they sure look pretty together.

  6. Paige says:

    I had the quesadillas at your Benbrook home many years ago and my mouth still waters when I think about them… so glad you put them on here. Can any of this be made ahead of time?

    • katherine says:

      Thanks for asking. I added a note at the end of the post to answer your query, but the answer is yes. Both the brisket and the soup can be made ahead and enjoyed for days and days and days.

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