Mexican night goes chicken. Bok bok!

May 14, 2013

Chicken Fajitas

It was actually my dad and step-mom that introduced me to this recipe last summer. Super-simple chicken fajita meat that can be made on the grill or in the house, along with grilled peppers and onions, all doused in a bit of the cilantro-laced marinade that makes the meat oh-so-juicy and the peppers and onions full of flavor. The great thing is this dish can be pulled off as a fairly light-feeling summer dinner or a filling fall dish just depending on how much meat you want to stuff in your tortilla. Ba-dum-bum!

Similar to taco night, the great thing about this meal is letting everyone loose on the ingredients so they end up with a fajita made their way. You can even keep the chicken and veggies separated to cater to any non-meat or non-chicken eaters in the bunch. Serve this up with a bit of Spanish rice or beans, and you’ve got a meal!

Chicken Fajitas
Adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
Serves 6

1/4 cup vegetable oil + 2 tablespoons
juice of 3 limes (about 1/3 cup)
1 jalapeno chile, minced (remove seeds if you can’t take the heat)
1/3 cup cilantro
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
Salt & pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds (do not separate into rings)
2 large bell peppers, quartered, stemmed, and seeded (I prefer red, orange, and yellow to green)
Flour tortillas

Whisk together the 1/4 cup of oil, lime juice, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, Worcestershire, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the remaining marinade, and add chicken, tossing to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, stirring once to make sure all pieces of chicken get to marinate.

On a separate plate, brush two sides of onions and peppers with oil and season with salt and pepper.

The fun part – fire up your grill! Charcoal, gas, or even a grill pan on top of the oven will work. If working with charcoal, make a hot area and cool(er) area by placing 2/3 of the coals to one side, and 1/3 of coals to the other. For gas or grill pan, get the grill good and hot (high heat, until heated) and then reduce heat to a medium to medium high heat.

Place the chicken and the vegetables on the hotter part of the grill. Grill the chicken until well browned on each side, about 4 to 6 minutes on each side. As the chicken approaches done, move it toward the cooler side of the grill. Follow the same procedure with the grilled vegetables, cooking them until they are tender with char marks on each side (you’ll be cooking these at the same time as the chicken).

Have a plate or bowl (or two if you want to keep your chicken and vegetables separated) sitting to the side of the grill with aluminum foil. As the chicken and vegetables are done, pull them from the grill and keep them warm with the aluminum foil tent. When all the chicken and vegetables are done, turn off the grill, and don’t forget to clean it!

Warm the tortillas. Slice the onion rounds in half, and separate the half-rings. Slice the peppers into 1/4 inch strips. Cut the chicken on the bias into 1/2 inch strips. Pour the reserved marinade over the vegetables and chicken and toss.

To serve, set out the tortillas, chicken & vegetables, guacamole, salsa. My preferred method of assembly is a slather of guacamole on my tortilla, topped with chicken and vegetables, and finished off with fresh salsa.

Gluten free alternative: Use corn tortillas with no wheat gluten added in place of the flour tortillas. This may not be exactly like a fajita, but it will still be extremely tasty!

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