Southwestern Egg Rolls with Pineapple Pepper Sauce

6:54 AM

I had a serious hankering for egg rolls today. I have no idea where this craving came from, but I sought out to satisfy it. I've only assisted in making egg rolls once in my early teen years with my mom, and I had no recipes stashed away, so I had to look around to find something that sounded like would satisfy me and wouldn't be too hard to make. After googling for a bit, I came across a recipe for southwest egg rolls. This took me back to the summer after graduating high school when I worked at Bennigan's and I spent half of my tips earned on their egg rolls (and the other half on chicken strips for the cute teenaged-sailor that would eventually become my husband). Their egg rolls, though not traditional, are to die for and I have never thought about trying to recreating it. I had to look up the appropriate dipping sauce to go along with it, and luckily I found one!


As much as I wanted to have a crispy, crunchy, succulent fried egg roll, I decided to try to
"healthify" the egg rolls by baking them. The egg rolls definitely tasted baked, giving the wrapper a gummy, chewy texture. Not exactly an indicator of a good egg roll, I know. Next time I think I will compromise and saute them in a smidge of olive oil or cooking spray, just to help give it a crispier crunch. As for the filling, the spinach was a real turn off to me and the kiddos. But, to be fair, we aren't big cooked spinach fans to begin with. I opted to add corn, and am glad that I did, but next time I personally will skip the spinach since it was too overpowering for us. All in all, we weren't too thrilled with our egg rolls, but it has nothing to do with the actual recipe - half of the issue was the way I chose to cook it, and the other half was a personal preference issue. Other than that, I think it will be an amazing dish! I will do my personal modifications for next time, but if you choose to fry the egg rolls in oil, I'm sure your outcome will be far, far from disappointing. Especially if you serve it with the sweet pineapple pepper sauce - it makes for an amazing combination! I guess Bennigan's knew what they were doing pairing the two together! I will be making these again very, very soon, as I can imagine how wonderful these will be next time!


Southwestern Egg Rolls
Serves 6-8

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (18 ounce) can black beans, drained, reserving 1/3 cup liquid
8 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry and chopped
2 medium fresh tomatoes, diced small
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces monterey jack pepper cheese, grated
25 egg roll wraps
oil (for frying)

1. Combine beans with reserved juice, spinach, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, cumin, salt and pepper to taste in a large stainless or glass bowl. Refrigerate while the chicken is cooking.

2. Either bake, broil or grill the chicken until almost done, still pink in the middle.

3. Remove chicken from oven or grill, let cool slightly, shred with a sharp knife or by hand.

4. Remove vegetable mixture from refrigerator, strain out any liquid, stir in the cheeses and shredded chicken.

5. Following the directions included in the eggroll wrapper package, make individual rolls with the vegetable, cheese and chicken mixture.

6. Place on baking sheet and put in freezer while oil to fry is heating.

7. When oil has reached 375˚, bring the eggrolls out and fry them 3 to 4 at a time, until crispy and golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes. When the rolls are done, they will float and there should be very little bubbling of the fat around them. They shouldn't spatter much, but be careful.

8. Remove each batch of rolls to a cooling rack and place in a slow oven (275˚) while cooking the remaining rolls.

9. When all rolls are cooked, cut them in half, diagonally. Serve with whatever type of dipping sauce you prefer.


Pineapple Pepper Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons pineapple juice
4 tablespoons salsa
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (8.25 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved

1. Combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed for two minutes.

2. Chill in refrigerator for an hour.

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