Winter Style Veal Quesadillas with Thyme BBQ Sauce

Ok let’s play culture mix-match again :)  This time, I am going to see my sweet friends from Mexico to borrow them their famous quesadillas and I’m coming back in Montreal (in the cold) to grab some good butternut squash and see what I can create.  True there is quit a lot of possibilities when we think on mixing the sweet taste of the winter squash and the versatility of the quesadillas.  Since I had some ground veal in my fridge, I decided to create what I like to call the “winter” version of this Mexican dish.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.

To compliment this meal, I decided to make a thyme BBQ sauce that is either good cold or warm and that I’m sure you’ll find more than one use for.  Oh and btw, this recipe makes a pretty big quantity of food, it’s good for at least 4-5 people or for your lunch the next day :)  Enjoy!


Flour Tortillas

300g of ground veal

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup, tightly packed)

3 big garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tightly packed cup of very finely chopped carrots and butternut squash***

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1/4 cup of the BBQ Sauce

1 teaspoon of beef Bovril in liquid form

Finely grated cheese to taste**

For the BBQ sauce:

3/4 cup of very finely chopped carrots & butternut squash

1 teaspoon of olive oil

2 teaspoons of garlic powder

1 cup of strained tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke

3-4 teaspoons of beef Bovril in liquid form

1 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme

*** The amount of carrots VS butternut squash is pretty much opted to you depending on your taste.  I like to put 3/4 squash for 1/4 carrots.  For the total of this recipe (sauce included) it took me 2 medium carrots an 1/2 of the bottom part only, of a small butternut squash.

** I put about 1/4 cup of cheese in each quesadillas but you can go all out and put more :)  The more you add, the easier for them to “glue” the quesadilla together.  I also used a mix of Emmental and Gruyere for an extra punch in the taste.

1- Start your sauce at least 1 to 2 hours in advance.  The longer you let that sauce marinate the better it will be.  For the best flavor, I suggest you do it one day in advance.  Mix all the ingredient in a medium sauce pan with a lid, bring to decent heat at MEDIUM/HIGH heat till it start bubbling a bit then reduce to LOW heat and let marinate as long as you can, covered.  At the last minute, transfer it in to a blender and process the sauce smooth.  I like to use my cordless hand blender for this type of process because it’s just less complicated instead of dirtying a big piece of equipment like a normal blender.

2- Time to make the quesadillas… In a big non-stick flat bottom pan, on the stove at MEDIUM/HIGH heat, add the olive oil, carrots/squash mixture, onion plus garlic and let cook for about 5-6 minutes till the butternut and carrots start becoming softer and the onions changed color.  Add your veal, cook for and extra 6-7 minutes or till your veal is well cooked.  Add the rest of the ingredients, keep cooking a bit and remove from heat.

3- Leave your stove at MEDIUM/HIGH, take a new flat bottom pan, spread a TINY BIT of butter or margarine on one side of your tortilla and grill it buttered side down.  While the butter is grilling the tortilla nicely, spread the meat mixture on 1/2 of the tortilla and add cheese on top.  Close the other half on the cheese and press it down with a spatula before flipping your tortilla to grill the other half.

Cut in 4 pieces, enjoy with a bit of the BBQ sauce on the side and/or sour cream


  1. Nick (@ExlipseVII) says

    NOM!! These are excellent! I had to use beef instead of veal and I ended up with a pretty smokey flavor. I made chili powder out of 50/50 cumin and chipotle powder. Since I live in Texas, I used 1/2(+) tsp of cayenne pepper as well =D. The squash isn’t as prevalent as I thought it’d be (might be because of the chipotle). A+ on this one though, it’s going in my book 😉 Oh! I also had enough butternut left over for a future pumpkin pie, double win!

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