3quartspeanut oil(OR vegetable oil OR canola oil, for frying)
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Butterfly the chicken by slicing it horizontally with the knife parallel to the cutting board so the chicken breast opens like a book. Place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it to a ¼" thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and dust both sides lightly with flour.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken 3-4 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside to rest at least 5 minutes. Slice into strips or cut into 1" cubes.
In a large bowl combine the all the peppers, corn, black beans, scallions, Monterey Jack cheese, salt, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Add the chicken (and cilantro, if using) and stir to combine.
Assembling egg rolls
Place one egg roll wrapper on the counter in front of you, rotated so it looks like a diamond. Use a 3 tablespoon (a scant ¼ cup) scoop to place the filling in the center of the egg wrapper.
Fold the bottom point of the wrapper up over the filling, tucking it tightly against the filling. This is a good time to help nudge your filling into a log-like shape and press out any large air pockets.Use your fingers to brush egg wash on the top point of the wrapper, along the open edges, and all the way down to the right and left points of the egg roll wrapper. Don't be stingy with the egg wash! It needs to stick!
Fold the right and left corners of the wrapper into the center, so that one overlaps the other. Use more egg wash as needed to help get the corners to stick to each other and to the bottom flap.If you look down at it now, the egg roll should look like the back of an envelope with the top flap open.
Roll the bottom of the wrapper with filling in it forward onto the open flap to seal the egg roll shut. If there are any open edges or spots where oil might get inside the egg roll during frying, use the egg wash to seal them shut.
Place finished egg rolls on a sheet pan dusted lightly with flour or corn starch to prevent them from sticking. Lightly dust more corn starch or flour over the tops of the finished egg rolls. (See notes, below, for freezing instructions if not frying immediately).
Frying egg rolls
Line a sheet pan with paper towels and arrange a wire cooling rack inside it.Attach candy thermometer to the dutch oven and heat 3 quarts of oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F.
Bring the temperature of the oil up to 360-370°F, then carefully lower two egg rolls into the pot. The oil temperature should drop down to 350°F within 30-60 seconds. If it doesn't, lower your heat to medium.Keep an eye on the temperature throughout the frying process, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 350°F.
Use the wire spider to move the egg rolls around, keeping them from sticking to the bottom of the dutch oven or from bobbing too high above the surface of the oil.
Fry for 6-8 minutes, until the egg rolls are dark golden brown all over. Remove from oil and place on the cooling rack to drain. NOTE: These first two egg rolls are a practice run — let them cool for about 10 minutes and then give them a try so you can make any adjustments before frying the next batch.
Repeat steps 2-6 with batches of 3-4 egg rolls until you're out of eggs to roll and rolls to fry.
To make this vegetarian, omit the chicken and increase the other filling ingredients slightly to make up for it.
Try to get as much air out of the egg roll when you wrap it as you can. It doesn't have to be vacuum sealed shut, but air pockets will cause the egg roll to float when it fries, and might even burst open in the oil.
To freeze Southwestern egg rolls before frying: Arrange the shaped egg rolls on a sheet pan dusted with corn starch to prevent them from sticking to the pan or each other. Dust the tops of the egg rolls with corn starch. Freeze until solid, then transfer to an airtight bag or container. To fry: Instead of dropping ice cold egg rolls straight into 350°F oil, start them at around 250°F. After about 2-3 minutes, increase the heat to bring the oil up to 350°F for another 4-5 minutes of frying.
To freeze Southwestern egg rolls after frying: Let fried egg rolls cool completely. Wrap individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then freeze inside of an airtight bag or container. To reheat: Place fried egg rolls on a wire cooling rack inside a sheet pan in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes.
DO NOT POUR USED COOKING OIL DOWN THE DRAIN!!! There are lots of safe ways to reuse, recycle, and dispose of used cooking oil which you can find here.