Have you ever bit into a quesadilla and were disappointed by the lack of flavor? Was the meat dry and boring? Well, that is certainly not the case with these guys. They're bursting with flavor and have just the right amount of sauciness without being soggy. They're loaded with gooey cheese and are so SO delicious. You might have just found your new go-to ground elk recipe!
Why This Recipe Works:
Quesadillas are often dry and lacking in the flavor department. But they don't have to be! Ground elk meat is the base for the filling but it doesn't stop there. Taco seasoning is added to flavor the meat. Then the meat is simmered with peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste and stock to create a delicious saucy mixture that's loaded with flavor. Spread in between layers of gooey cheese and crispy tortillas, they really can't be beat!
- Ground Elk: If you don't have ground elk, you can use any type of ground meat you prefer - venison, antelope, moose, beef, turkey, etc.
- Quesadilla Cheese: Quesadilla cheese is obviously a great choice for quesadillas. But if you're not able to find it, cheddar or Monterey jack work great as well.
- Taco Seasoning: I use homemade taco seasoning, but feel free to use your favorite blend!
- Tortillas: Quesadillas are not an exact science. You can use whatever tortilla type or size you like. Just make sure you keep a good filling:cheese ratio! For 2 - 6 inch tortillas, a ratio of ½ cup cheese to ⅓ cup filling works great. Essentially, you can use a little more cheese than filling and they will turn out great!
- Lard: I use lard as my preferred cooking fat but you can use whatever fat works best for you.
- Griddle Pan: If you don't have a griddle pan or griddle, you can use any pan you'd like. You'll likely need to work in batches depending on the size of your pan.
How to Make Quesadilla Filling:
Quesadilla filling doesn't have to be boring and dry! It can actually be quite flavorful and saucy if you follow the steps below:
How to Make a Quesadilla:
Quesadillas seem like a simple enough food to make (because they are) but there are a few simple steps to follow to take your quesadilla game from good to great! Follow the steps below and you won't be disappointed.
Other Recipes to Try:
Ground meat works best for quesadillas because it is easy to chop into small pieces. There's nothing worse than taking a bite of quesadilla and pulling a huge chunk of meat out, leaving the rest of your quesadilla sad and empty.
Quesadilla cheese is the best choice because that's what it's made for! It melts perfectly and has great flavor. But cheddar or Monterey jack are great choices as well.
Start with a cold pan and turn on the heat after you've assembled your quesadilla. This way, your cheese has time to melt before your tortilla gets too browned.
Ground Elk Quesadillas
- ½ lb ground elk (or venison, moose, antelope, etc.)
- 2 ½ tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 tablespoon lard (only needed if your meat doesn't have fat ground in)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup wild game stock (or beef stock)
- ¾ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
- ¾ cup red onion, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
- 12 tortillas (6" or casera size)
- 3 cups quesadilla cheese (or Monterey jack, cheddar, etc.)
- 2 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
- sour cream
- To a medium bowl, add ground meat and taco seasoning. Mix seasoning into meat with your hands until well-combined.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add lard to pan and swirl to coat the pan.
- Add seasoned meat to pan and spread out in a thin layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Flip and break the meat up into small pieces.
- Add diced peppers, diced onions, and minced garlic to pan. Stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables start to soften.
- Add in tomato paste and stock. Stir to combine. Simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed into the meat mixture, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
- To a cold griddle, add half of the tortillas. You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your griddle. Top each tortilla with ¼ cup cheese.
- Spread ⅓ cup meat mixture on top of cheese. Top with ½ teaspoon cilantro and ¼ cup cheese. Place remaining tortillas on top.
- Heat griddle on medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until bottom is golden brown and cheese is melting.
- Flip quesadillas and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 1-2 minutes before cutting.
- Cut quesadillas into quarters and serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, or your desired dipping sauces. Enjoy!
- Quesadilla cheese is the perfect cheese for quesadillas (no surprise there). But, you can also use other melting cheeses like cheddar, monterey jack, etc.
- Starting with a cold pan while cooking quesadillas helps ensure the cheese melts before the bottom tortilla gets too browned. The cooking times for the quesadillas are based on using a gas stove. If you have an electric stove, it may take longer to heat up.
- Quesadilla filling can get dried out pretty easily, especially with wild game. Adding vegetables, tomato paste, and stock to the filling makes a delicious sauce that keeps the filling moist.