Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Chicken, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tortilla Pinwheels

This meal was a bonus as far as using things up goes! It all started with 2 sweet potatoes that had been around for a while, and some cream cheese in the fridge (only 1 person in the family eats it, so it tends to hang around for a while, until I make something to use it up).

After I came up with the idea of making tortilla pinwheels with the sweet potato and cream cheese, I realised there was about 3/4 cup of Basic Tomato Sauce in the fridge, as well as half an onion, a lime and 4 chicken thighs. Oh yes, and some roasted red pepper.

The sweet potatoes were peeled, diced and cooked in lightly salted boiling water until they were tender. After mashing them, I had about 1 cup of sweet potato to use.

Since only half of us like sweet potatoes, I also made pinwheels without, using the roasted red pepper instead.

Start by making a quick rub for the chicken. Combine:

zest of half a lime
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Rub this onto the chicken. I used 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Leave the chicken to sit with the rub for 30 minutes. 

Thinly slice:

1/2 onion

Cook, with salt and pepper, in a bit of olive oil until it starts to soften and colour slightly.

Add the chicken thighs, browning one side before turning them to cook on the other side.

Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and simmer until the chicken is tender enough to shred easily. This took about 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan, saving the liquid.

Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, combine:

1 cup mashed sweet potato
4 ounces soft cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup grated white cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

Stir in half of the cooked and shredded chicken.

The filling is ready.

To make the sauce for the pinwheels, combine:

3/4 cup  Basic Tomato Sauce
The cooking liquid from the chicken

Divide between two ovenproof dishes; I used pie plates.

Divide the filling between four 10" tortillas...

 Spread it evenly over each tortilla.

Roll the tortilla up...

Trim the ends off, so all pieces have straight edges.
Cut the rolled up tortilla into 6 pieces.

Place the pieces into the prepared dish, on top of the sauce, cut side up.

Sprinkle with white cheddar.

Bake at 350F until heated through and crispy on top, with the cheddar melted and bubbly. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, before serving. Pass diced avocado, salsa and sour cream at the table.

With the other half of the chicken I made four more pinwheels, with cream cheese, roasted red pepper, corn, black beans and orange cheddar.

  • I had  just purchased a large pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs which I then divided into meal sized portions (6 thighs) and froze. These 4 were 'leftover' from that, and worked out perfectly for a recipe like this where large amounts of meat are not needed.
  • If you have chicken stock, use it to cook the chicken...it will add a lot more flavour. Fresh herbs can also be added...parsley, cilantro, oregano.
  • The chicken can be replaced with any leftover cooked meat...chicken, beef, pork, sausage, even chili or pulled pork will work. Finely dice or shred the meat before adding it to the filling.
  • I used frozen corn, but grilled corn on the cob will add a lot of flavour to the pinwheels.
  • Baked beans or refried beans can be used instead of black beans.
  • Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, finely chopped, will add a smoky spice to the pinwheels.
  • Instead of mashed sweet potato you can use roasted butternut squash or eggplant.
  • Add extra vegetables, diced finely or cooked and mashed. If the pieces are too large it makes rolling the tortilla tricky. Mushrooms, zucchini, chick peas, artichoke hearts, cooked spinach or kale, sundried tomatoes, olives are a few that could be used. 
  • If you are able to buy queso fresco or queso blanco, they can be used instead of cream cheese. Ricotta cheese or cottage cheese can also be used. Soft goat cheese will give your filling a tang, and would be great with butternut squash.
  • The filling can be used to stuff sweet (or hot) peppers. Bake or grill them.
  • The pinwheels can be made ahead and frozen; defrost and bake. Leftovers can be eaten hot or cold for lunch. The filling can be made a day ahead.

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