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Rollo Polo Loco

November 3, 2011
ED: Please give a warm welcome to my dear (ex)neighbors!! I’ve mentioned these guys more than a few times at The Shortlists, so I think it’s fitting you get to know them a bit. (Don’t worry – they’ve been warned that the majority of our readers are from North America and thus read Normal English, so they’ve dropped their weird, almost unintelligible dialect for our benefit.) If the following post doesn’t get across just how delicious this family is, I personally invite you to visit them in their new house. The bigger one they got when they moved away from us. The one with SO much room they just HAD to move away.
Sigh. We’re only bitter because we miss them. We miss dining with them, laughing with them, hearing personal triumphs (I may or may not have heard someone going into labor) and tragedies through the thinnest of walls. Whenever we make it up to the Central Coast, to their enormous new house, we’re always welcomed with the smells of marinating meat, glasses of cold “champers,” and the giggles of my future son-in-law playing on the kitchen floor. In other words, we feel like we’re home. Before I start writing haiku’s and love sonnets, I’d better pass it over to Jessie, who will then hand the mic to her dear husband, Stu. You’ll love them, I promise. And you’ll love these crazy chicken rolls just as much – I’m already drooling just looking at the pictures.

We are delighted to have been asked to guest blog for our dear friend, ex-neighbour, new mumma, and foodie extraordinaire.  Our time living next to this lovely lady and her charming man Francesco, consisted of innumerous dinner parties (including the rise of ‘Meatfest’), care packages of freshly baked cookies, bread and kielbasi being handed over the back fence, not to mention the late night sing-along’s we’d hear through the walls after they’d hosted a dinner party that we WEREN’T invited to (but felt a part of anyway, being privy to the night’s menu, guest list, and the good smells emanating from their house). We always knew the party had been a success if we could hear through the wall Lani singing at the top of her lungs to Florence and the Machine. I would often hum along with her from my bed.  Now, from our new home on the Central Coast where we no longer share a wall with these two, we have to listen really, really hard to hear her.

Stuart and I both have (not so) secret extra-marital love affairs. Mine is with New York City. Stu’s is with Mexican food. Oh, and records. Such delight on his face when he receives a package from Fireworks Foods (, packed with every type of ingredient one would need for a Mexican fiesta.  Then the hour he spends carefully putting it all on display like a shop so he can photograph it in all its glory.  I can only sit back and try not to laugh.

Stu's obsessed

For Stu there is no chilli too hot.  For me there is. We have found middle ground, which is why we are still happily married.  Our 15-month old son, Wolfie, has also been exposed to his chilli obsession and lived to tell the tale.

I am spoilt. Stu is the head chef in our household.  If I cook too many nights in a row he feels lost. Or like a limb is missing. I am happy with that. I lost my cooking mojo many years ago when we first moved in together.  Since then he has gotten his Mexican recipes down to a fine art.  Wowing guests (and me) with an array of sauces made from scratch, plates of marinated BBQ’d meats, beans, chillies, and chillies, chillies. Did I mention chillies?

So herewith is his latest creation, which already has a following (Ed’s note: of which Francesco, my mom and I are loyal members). The name has evolved from its original Southwest Egg Rolls (because that made me feel sick) to ‘Rollo Pollo Loco’ after we spent some time on translation websites looking for all the best ways to describe this phenomenon.  Yes, crazy chicken rolls, whether it be grammatically correct in its translation or not, is still totally awesome. And on that note I will you over to my head chef.

We were really flattered to be asked to do a guest recipe for Lani’s Blog. I made these for Lani and Francesco (and Lani’s Mum) shortly after the birth of beautiful Stella. The “Rollo Pollo Loco” is a Tex-Mex recipe – Tex-Mex always conjures up bad food images in my head like really bad food court Nachos and Tacos with bad re-re-re-re-refried beans and boring watery minced beef with too much sour cream; bad, bad guacamole; salsa from a jar, wilted lettuce and floury tomatoes. This Tex-Mex recipe is not like that at all: I actually like it as much as “real” Mexican, which is saying a lot. I literally dream about Mexican food….


I want to tell you that I came across this recipe from the old Mexican man and Texan lady that lived down the street who were throwing out their handwritten cook-books that had been passed down through the generations. And that stumbling upon these led me to a food tour of Mexico, visiting famous kitchens and eating with Mexican royalty. But that would be a lie. I can’t tell you where I found it. It is my secret. (and I am too embarrassed to tell.)

You can really put anything in these “Rollos”… this is just how I like them.
I toned down the jalapenos and chilli amounts as I like really hot, adjust as required. The Avocado-Ranch Dipping Sauce really does mellow the chilli hotness anyway. The original recipe required deep-frying of the “Rollo’s” but I like them much better oven baked. Your arteries will too.

Hope you enjoy.  (If you are interested, here is some information on Mexican and Tex-Mex foods-

expert rolling



500 grams (1 lb) chicken thighs

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 big or 2 small red capsicum (red bell pepper), finely chopped

½ bunch shallots, finely chopped

¾-1 cup corn kernels (frozen)

½ can or thereabouts black beans, rinsed and drained

4 – 5 tablespoons frozen spinach, thawed and drained

5 tablespoons jalapenos (from a jar), chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chilli powder

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup shredded cheese (Colby or Cheddar or whatever)

8 – 10 flour tortillas

1 Egg for egg-wash

Sauce topped with tomato and red onion


1 avocado

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons buttermilk (or regular milk with some lemon juice)

2-½ teaspoon white vinegar

½ teasoon salt

½ teaspoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ to 1 teaspoon Dill weed tips

1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder

Dash Pepper


2 Tomatoes, chopped

½ to 1 Red Onion, chopped



Rub chicken (Pollo) with oil then grill it on barbecue for 5 min or until done.
Lightly Salt and Pepper each side of chicken while it cooks.
When done set aside.

Preheat oil in a frying pan; add capsicum (red pepper) and shallots, and sauté until tender.

Dice the cooked chicken and add it to the pan. Add the corn, black beans, spinach, jalapenos, parsley, cumin, chilli powder, salt and cayenne pepper to pan.
Cook for 5 mins; stir well so that the spinach separates and incorporates into mixture. Remove from heat and add the cheese – stir until melted.

Heat the tortillas. It makes it easier to roll the Rollo.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Beat the egg in a small bowl, then brush the top edge of each tortilla with the egg wash before spooning mixture into centre.
Tightly roll and push the ends in. Egg-wash the ends and top of the roll. Place on baking tray lined with baking paper.
Fit as many as you can onto tray and pop into a pre-heated oven for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

While the crazy chicken is cooking: sauce time.

Add all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix really well. Tastes better if chilled for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to serve garnish sauce with the tomato and onion.


Jessie, Wolfie and Stu

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    November 3, 2011 3:04 pm

    Wow, those guys sound AMAZING! I wish we lived next door.

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