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Fermentations, Ruminations & Meditations

Finnriver Fire Barrel Caramelized Onion & Apple Quesadilla

Jan 29, 2014

Finnriver Fire Barrel Caramelized Onion & Apple Quesadilla

by Lauren Chandler

Serves 6


The smoky cheese and sweet apples bring out the vanilla and oak of the cider, and caramelizing the onions enhances the caramel notes. The onions will keep well in the fridge for at least a week, and they freeze well too. Use them as a base in your favorite chili recipe, in omelets, on top of pizza, or mixed in with cooked dark leafy greens. Bring them and the rest of the ingredients with you on your next camping trip for a gourmet treat.


For the onions:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or butter

1 large yellow onion, diced
1 bottle Finnriver Fire Barrel Cider


For the quesadillas:

Neutral flavored oil or cooking spray

One batch Fire Barrel caramelized onions

2 packed cups shredded Red Dorset cheese, or another smoky cheese (about ½ pound)

6 6-inch flour tortillas 

2 medium-sized Honeycrisp apples (or another sweet, firm, tart apple) cored and thinly sliced into half moons

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste



Melt the olive oil or butter in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the onions start to turn translucent and golden, and some of their edges turn brown. Continue to cook without stirring for 1-2 minutes, until the onions start to stick to the pan. Add ¼ cup cider and stir, freeing the onions from the bottom of the pan and scraping up the fond (the sweet brown bits) and mixing it into the onions. Continue to cook, stirring once or twice in the first minute, then let cook untouched for another 2 minutes or so, until the cider evaporates and the onions stick to the pan again. Add another ¼ cup cider and repeat this process until the onions are caramelized to your liking, then add salt to taste. (I like to use the entire bottle of cider, which takes about 45 minutes.


Cooking the quesadillas:

Lightly coat a medium skillet with oil and heat over medium heat. Lay a tortilla in the skillet and cook 1-2 minutes, or until it starts to puff up and become golden, then flip it over. Spread 1/3 cup cheese evenly across half of the tortilla, place the apple slices in an even layer on top of the cheese, then top with around 2 ½ teaspoons of onions.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, fold the tortilla in half, and cook until the cheese has melted, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook one minute more, until evenly golden and heated all the way through. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.

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