Sunday, June 21, 2015

Copycat Southwestern Eggrolls with Avocado-ranch Dipping Sauce

If you've had these at Chili's or other chain restaurants, you know how delicious they are. I will caution you, though, that they are labor intensive. That said, I would suggest you quadruple the recipe (at least) and freeze these, either cooked or not, to make it worth your while. I made a quadruple batch for a BBQ and regretted not making even more to put in the freezer.

Ingredients (for a single batch - 5 eggrolls)
4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 tbs vegetable oil
2 tbs minced red bell pepper
2 tbs minced green onion
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbs frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tbs diced, canned jalapeno peppers
1/2 tbs minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
five 7-inch flour tortillas
1 egg, beaten
OPTIONAL:  6 - 10 cups vegetable oil or shortening, if frying; otherwise, olive oil cooking spray, if baking

Avocado-Ranch Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup smashed, fresh avocado (about half an avocado)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbs buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp onion powder
dash dried dill weed
dash garlic powder
dash pepper

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Bake for 8 minutes, turn, and bake until done (about another 5 minutes). Cool, then dice into small cubes.

Preheat 1 tbs vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the red pepper and green onion and saute until tender, a few minutes. Add the chicken, corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, and spices to the pan. Cook, being sure to mix all ingredients thoroughly, for another 4 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted.

Wrap the tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until hot.

Spoon 1/5 of the mixture into the bottom third of each tortilla. Fold in the ends, then roll as tightly as possible without tearing the tortilla. Before you finish rolling, brush beaten egg on the inside edge of the tortilla. Finish rolling the eggroll, then set the eggroll on the "glued" flap until the egg sets.

Arrange the filled eggrolls on a plate with the sealed edges down, cover the plate with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Overnight is best.

Prepare the avocado dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

IF FRYING:  Deep fry the eggrolls in the hot oil for 8 - 10 minutes. Remove to paper towels or a rack to drain for about 2 minutes.

IF BAKING:  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick olive oil spray. Spray the eggrolls lightly. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until piping hot and golden.

Slice each eggroll diagonally lengthwise and arrange on a plate around the bowl of dipping sauce.
Because I was making these in advance for a BBQ, I decided to freeze them, deep fry them at home, then reheat them in the oven when we got to my cousin's house. However, when I was rolling the tortillas, I inadvertently rolled 2 of the eggrolls too tightly, causing the tortilla to tear. I decided to bake these and use them for a "taste test." While both cooking methods produced a very tasty appetizer, I have to admit that I preferred the baked tortillas, which turned out more crispy. I also admit to not being a huge fried food fan, so that may have colored my perception as well. While these are a bit labor-intensive, they are not difficult and they turn out quite well. If you've ever eaten them at Chili's, you'd swear they were the real thing.

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