Queso de Cabra

Readers of The Particular Kitchen will no doubt be aware of my love and appreciation for goat milk/cheese/yogurt. It is a major part of my diet and has been ever since I was a baby. And now we are seeing more and more goat dairy products adorn our supermarket's shelves. Perhaps you are currently consuming cow's dairy on a regular basis, as most people in the Western world tend to do. But maybe that dairy is throwing your digestion off. You may even already be aware of the cause of your discomfort, but feel that there's no easy solution. Better to continue as normal than make life difficult. This is the decision anyone with a food intolerance has to take into account at some point. Is it better to suffer or to change? When it comes to a cow's milk intolerance or allergy, I'd say that you've got plenty of alternatives out there. And the biggest savior is goat dairy. As someone who also can't consume soy, that rules out a huge amount of dairy-free alternatives (such as soy cheese, tofu-based ice cream, and of course soy milk). Almond and other nut milks are great for breakfast or in a cup of tea/coffee, but cheese is the question here. many people can't stand the way goat cheese smells and tastes. However, they are making all kinds of different varieties now, including a goat cheddar that tastes quite similar to a cow's version, like this one from St Helen's Farm or this one from Montchevre.

We use this a lot at home to make cheese-adorned meals that I'd otherwise avoid. Phil tends to like the goat stuff just as much, so doesn't mind the difference. Which is useful, because the other night I was really craving a quesadilla...

Simply cheese + tortilla wasn't exciting (or healthy) enough for me, so I went a step further and made a spicy black bean puree that was delicious and only took minutes to make. The result satisfied my craving and is worth sharing here. Just make sure you include some guacamole for garnish - heavy on the lime juice and cilantro!

Goat Cheese Quesadilla with Black Bean Puree

Makes 4-6 quesadillas

The particulars:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red chili, chopped, seeds included
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 15-oz (425g) cans black beans, drained & rinsed (some of the draining liquid preserved)
  • 4-6 whole wheat or corn tortillas
  • 140g hard goat cheese, thinly sliced
  • handful spinach leaves
  1. Heat the oven as high as it will go. line a couple of baking trays with foil.
  2. Cook the onion in a little bit of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once slightly softened, add the garlic and chili. Cook for 2 minutes, then sprinkle over the cumin and some salt and pepper. Stir to coat, then add the drained black beans. Cook until fully heated through and softened. Leave to cool for a minute.
  3. Carefully transfer the black bean mixture to a food processor and pour in a tablespoon or so of the reserved draining liquid from the beans. Whiz until the consistency is smooth but still contains some texture.
  4. Lay your tortillas flat on the foil-lined baking sheets and spread some of the bean mixture on half of each one. Place some spinach leaves on top of the beans, then a few slices of goat cheese before folding the tortilla in half.
  5. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes, swapping halfway through. You want to make sure the cheese melts slightly and the tortillas crisp up around the edges, but be careful they don't burn!
  6. Serve hot with a dollop of guacamole on top, and eat in slices or as a whole :)