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Savory Chicken Cheesecake

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savorycheesecake

Recently, my church had a dessert competition and game night. I have some delightful and frequently hilarious friends on my facebook page who like to make things interesting, and they started bantering about who would win in this competition and who would go home crying. Five friends, my husband, and I all got involved, and somewhere along in the conversation one of them mentioned chicken cheesecake as a joke. Well, for all of you who know my husband, this was a risky move, because he loves to take all the zany ideas he can and just run with them, and, true to his playful nature, he did just that.
So, being the overly tolerant, albeit brilliant, wifey that I am, I let him go for it. With my help and direction, he submitted the most delicious (savory) chicken cheesecake you could imagine. I know this was a dessert competition… It was just supposed to be a gag to get people’s reactions… Technically it should not have won anything, but it got second place! I think it must have been for all of those poor souls who do not enjoy sweet desserts nearly as much as I do, but trust me, this is still rich enough that it could be considered a dessert to many of us. (This makes two large casserole dishes worth, or possibly 3 large springform pans full. Divide the recipe in half if you need to.)

Ingredients & Directions:
Crust:
1 bag (about 24oz?) blue corn tortilla chips
1/2 c. melted butter
2 egg whites
Put chips in food processor, grind to a coarse powder (much like you would for a graham cracker crust). Add butter and egg whites, process one more time. Coat your baking dishes or springform pans with nonstick spray. Hand press into your baking pans into an even layer and chill in fridge until time to fill.

Chicken and Peppers Mixture:
(This makes enough for you to put half into the freezer for later. Use it for the next time you make this, or use it for some hash browns, an omelette, or some stellar enchiladas later.)
1 whole chicken, cooked and shredded
3 red peppers, diced
2 large onions, diced
2 cans diced green chiles (or fresh Anaheim chiles or Hatch chiles, and grilled and diced)
1/2 tsp. each of salt, pepper, ground oregano, turmeric, cumin, coriander
In a hot skillet, add olive oil and a pat of butter, onions, peppers, and chiles. Sweat until soft. Just at the end, crank up the heat and give them a nice browned exterior. (Tip: If you have a grill or non flat cooktop you can blacken them in advance and let them sweat as they cool, packaged in foil or parchment.) Once the veggies are cooked, add seasonings and chicken, mix thoroughly and set aside.

Filling:
(Preheat oven to 350 degrees)
32 oz. (4 boxes) cream cheese, softened
24 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
2 tsp. salt
8 oz. sour cream
4 large eggs
3 cups chicken and peppers mixture (above)
Whip together cream cheese, eggs, and salt. Slowly add sour cream, then add queso fresco, and mix one more time. Fold in chicken and peppers. Pour into pans over the crust and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min or until hot and slightly browned around the edges.

Topping:
2 large limes (just the juice)
1-1/2 c. crema
1 c. green salsa (we used a local brand that had lots of yummy grilled jalapenos and tomatillos)
1 c. fresh cilantro
2 large avocados
Dump it all, in order, into your blender and give it a whirl until smooth. Chill until the cheesecakes come out of the oven. After the cheesecake has rested 10 or so minutes, spread half of the mixture over the top of each pan.

Serve with a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and olives. Enjoy!

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