Fajitas are pretty easy to make, and they are crazy delicious...when cooked well.  Cooked well to me means the meat packs a ton of flavor and is not overcooked.  The vegetables are nicely caramelized, and still have a bit of a bite.  I love this kinds of food, and I'm making some version of fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, etc, in my kitchen at least a couple times a month.  Chicken, is of course a common ingredient, and in the recipe below, I show you the basics of making a perfect chicken fajita.  They are really quite simple, grilled meat and vegetables wrapped in a warm tortilla, but in that simple definition, there are key steps that will separate the bad from the good, and the good from the great.  Hope the recipe and suggestions below help you out, and hope you enjoy these fajitas as much as I do.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

To make the best chicken fajitas, just make sure to do these few things:

  1. Get a good amount of seasoning on the chicken, preferably ahead of time, so that it really penetrates the meat.  There are several decent brands of “fajita seasoning” that I’ve tried, if you don’t want to make your own, just make sure you get a good coating on chicken as you’re flavoring the whole fajita.  Marinating as I do really helps.
  2. Of course, you gotta cook the chicken properly - not over or under cooked.  Although I use chicken breast in the video, I really like using thigh meat, as it is a bit more juicy and gives you more leeway before they are overcooked.  Use high heat to sear the outside of the chicken and develop the flavors, and then take it off the heat when it’s just done.
  3. If you do use breast meat, I like to pound out the chicken breast to get it the same thickness, and to get more surface area to sear…that gives the chicken more flavor. 
  4. I like to get my peppers and onions nicely caramelized as that gives more flavor as well.  You can also cook them off a couple hours ahead of time, and reheat at the last minute
  5. Finally, make sure to warm the tortilla (I like flour for fajitas) as that takes away some of the rawness in the flavor and texture

RECIPE FOR CHICKEN FAJITAS

Ingredients for Chicken Fajitas (for 4)

  • 2 chicken breasts – pounded out flat
  • 1 red bell pepper julienned
  • 1 yellow onion julienned
  • 3 limes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Flour tortillas
  • Grated Cheese - for garnish
  • Salsa - for garnish

Making the Chicken Fajitas

  • Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them out so they are roughly equal thickness throughout
  • Place the chicken in a large zip lock bag
  • In a bowl combine, the juice of the limes, the spices, honey, garlic and cilantro to make the marinade
  • Pour the marinade into the plastic bag, and if needed (if it looks dry) add a few glugs of olive oil or more lime juice
  • Seal the bag, and massage the marinade into the chicken; refrigerate for 2 – 8 hours
  • Remove the chicken from the bag, and season both sides with salt and black pepper
  • Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and coat with olive oil
  • Add the julienned onion and red pepper and season with salt and pepper
  • Continue to cook the vegetables, tossing every few minutes until caramelized, and just tender
  • Once cooked, you can turn the heat off the vegetables and reheat once the meat is cooked
  • Heat your grill (can you also do this indoors in a pan) until it is very hot.
  • Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, and sear it, letting both sides get nice and golden brown/crusty
  • Remove the chicken when it’s just cooked through and wrap in foil to rest for 5 minutes
  • While the chicken rests, reheat the vegetables, and warm the tortillas
  • Remove the chicken from the foil and slice into strips
  • Lay the chicken and vegetables on the tortillas (or better yet, let people serve themselves) and garnish with whatever toppings (cheese, sour cream, tomato salsa, guacamole) you’d like

Wine Recommendation: Chicken Fajitas are a bit of blank canvas when it comes to wine, and I think you can probably find a lot of great matches.  On the white side, something light and fruity would work well, like a Pinot Grigio.  If you’re looking for a red, I really love Zinfandels with grilled food, and think you’d do well with one here.

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