My husband and I have always been big fans of Chili's! I will say that I had to take a break from the place after college as a guy I dated was such a loyal patron that we often ate there twice per week and I could only take so much... But after that short break, and with the introduction of the Quesadilla Explosion Salad, I was ready to dive back in! Not only is the food good, but Chili's is a bit on the loud side, so no one really cares if our toddler hollers out in excitement, or throws a Goldfish on the floor. Typically, we'll try to go to Chili's during Happy Hour and sit in the bar area, where you can get free chips and salsa, half-price appetizers, and great drink deals. On one such "date night" I discovered these Southwestern Eggrolls, which I'd heard about from many friends. And after trying them once, I was hooked! Needless to say, I got super excited when I found a copycat recipe online, and, with a tiny bit of tweaking, was able to replicate these tasty bites for a dinner sized meal! Feel free to serve them as a starter, on a platter for Game Day, or as the main course. Oh yeah, and it's easy to many a mountain and freeze them for a later meal, too!
For the filling:
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied and diced into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup of your favorite Southwestern marinade (I like this one, from Target)
1/2 red pepper, minced
4-6 green onions, white and light green parts, minced
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen spinach
1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons jalapeno peppers, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
6 7-inch tortillas
1 egg, beaten
6-10 cups vegetable oil, for frying
For the Avocado-Ranch Dipping Sauce:
1 avocado, pitted
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
dash dried dill
2 cloves fresh garlic
Combine diced chicken breast with marinade. Let stand at room temperature 30-60 minutes. Heat non-stick skillet to medium-high, and saute chicken until cooked through. Set aside.
Preheat olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper and onion and saute until tender. Add the chicken, corn, beans, spinach, jalapeno, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne to the skillet. Stir to combine, and cook until spinach is thawed and well-incorporated into the mixture.
Remove the skillet from heat and add the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.
Wrap the tortillas in paper towels and microwave on high in 30-second intervals until hot (about 90 seconds total).
Divide mixture evenly in the center of each tortilla. Fold in the sides and roll the tortillas tightly. Before finishing each tortilla, brush some of the beaten egg on the inside edge of the tortilla and "flue" the "flap" to the eggroll. Arrange the eggrolls, seam side down, on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 4 hours.
While the eggrolls freeze, make the dipping sauce. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until desired consistency.
About an hour before you're ready to cook, remove the eggrolls from the freezer to slightly thaw (may need longer if frozen overnight). Preheat oil to 350 degrees. Also fit a baking sheet with a wire rack and preheat in oven to 350. Fry the eggrolls for 3-5 minutes per side. Place on wire rack in oven for 20-30 minutes, until eggrolls are heated through. Alternatively, you can fry the eggrolls longer, according to your personal preference.
Slice each eggroll diagonally lengthwise and arrange on a plate around a small bowl of the dipping sauce.
Serves 2-3 as a main course or 4-8 as an appetizer.