I worked at El Chico the summer after college, and I have quite a few stories I could tell you about working there. The manager let me off work on short-notice the night my first nephew Hayden was born, so I’ll always appreciate that.
A less enjoyable day: when the walk-in floor was slick — and I bit it while holding a 5 gallon bucket of salsa when my feet slipped out from under me. The salsa vat went directly up into the air above my head and landed just next to me (not on my head or I would have officially felt like a Loony Tunes character). What didn’t land next to me was all the salsa. After it coated the ceiling and a good 5 meter radius in the kitchen, the biggest portion of it splashed directly on my head and all over my body. You will never know the speed with which you can undress until you’ve driven home before your evening shift (luckily I happened to be finishing my lunch shift) completely coated in salsa. I have a high tolerance for spicy food…when I’m eating it. Apparently it’s quite different when you’re wearing it, in case you were considering this as some strange form of bath-time aromatherapy. Don’t.
That’s all the wisdom I have to share today. 😉 Also maybe some more practical advice: make sure your shoes are grippier than mine were if you ever find yourself working in a restaurant!
Anywho, one thing I did love about working there was the free meal during my break on each shift. My favorite was a chipotle chicken breast – it was smothered in a chipotle pepper sauce, and I absolutely loved it. This was the first time I had tried anything chipotle flavored – this was ages before “chipotle” was being mispronounced by 60% of people in a zillion fast food restaurants. To this day, I crave that dish.
I tried out this chipotle chicken mixture at home as a quick dish on its own, and we really loved it all by itself with some sides. But when I decided to try it in wontons…that’s when it became a super fun and delicious recipe! And it makes these little beauties a handy appetizer too if you have a different entrée in mind. ~Robin
10 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces
2 oz. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I use La Costena; there is a little heat to these, so you might cut back to 1 oz. if you’re not sure about the heat)
¾ c. canned black beans, rinsed
1 c. white onion, diced
½ tsp. garlic salt
5 oz. egg roll wraps (12 wraps, trimmed down as instructed below to about half of their original size by cutting across the corners; I use Twin Dragon)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ c. green onions, chopped (optional, though I think something colorful on top is pretty essential)
¼ c. cilantro, minced (optional)
2 medium jalapeños, sliced (optional)
1 or 2 T. fresh squeezed lime juice (I just squeeze directly from the lime so amount is approximate), optional for serving
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Rinse black beans and set aside.
Measure 2 oz. of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; chop well and add to a medium mixing bowl, sauce included. Mince garlic (you can also use jarred minced garlic) and add to bowl. Chop white onion and add it to this bowl as well. Chop chicken breast into bite sized pieces and add to the mixing bowl. Add garlic salt. Stir all together; then set aside.
With a clean knife, chop green onion; set aside. Mince cilantro if desired; set aside. Slice jalapeños if desired; set aside.
Trim egg roll wrappers (what I’ll call wontons from here on) down to about half their size, cutting across the corners with kitchen shears as shown in the video below. (I’m working on my video editing skills so, yes, you can hear my husband say “go” as it starts–oops! I think he just needs to work on his videography skills — who says “go” after they start recording?!)
Very lightly spray a muffin tin (12 cups) with cooking spray, and place trimmed wontons in cups. You may need to press some folded portions against the wall of the muffin tin so that there will be room for filling later (do not adding filling yet or you’ll have soggy wontons). Cook wontons until crisp as shown in this below video (8 ½ -10 minutes). (Before testing wontons to see if cooked enough, make sure you’ve given them a few minutes so they are cool enough to touch.)
The bottoms of each wonton should make a clicking sound when you tap it with your fingernail, and there should be no flexibility in the wonton. If it will bend when the sides are squeezed, it isn’t quite done. Keep an eye on wontons and cover with foil if edges begin to brown too much.
While the wontons are cooking, on medium heat, cook chicken mixture in a nonstick skillet until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. You do not need additional oil; the chipotle peppers provide just enough to cook the mixture. When the chicken is nearly cooked, add the black beans and gently stir them into this mixture in your pan. Remove from heat when chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F in the middle of the largest pieces).
If you follow the recipe by prepping your parts of the recipe ahead of time as it’s noted here, the wontons and chicken should be done at about the same time, and your food won’t get cold.
Add the hot chicken mixture to the wontons in the muffin tins as soon as they’re ready (chicken will likely be ready a minute or two before the wontons but not long enough to get cold), topping with green onions, as well as the cilantro and jalapeños if desired.
I squeeze fresh lime juice onto mine when serving, though they’re great without this too if you’re not a big fan of lime – or just want to savor that awesome chipotle flavor.
Weight Watchers Info.: Each filled wonton is precisely 1 Freestyle SmartPoint each, so it’s easy to make a meal out of these tasty treats. And all the garnishes are free, so play with those — or not — to your heart’s desire! (Note: Be sure to trim wontons to about half the size — that’s not only for looks; it also really reduces the points.)