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Chicken Fajitas

 

Fajitas [fa-HEE-tas], though having Mexican ancestry, actually emerged out of Texas in recent decades. Initially fajitas contained grilled, spice-marinated beef skirt steak, sliced thinly and rolled up in medium-sized flour tortillas. Marinated strips of chicken, or lamb or shrimp now often serve as the centerpiece.

Hearty and casual, fajitas are entertainment food. The tortillas, fried meat and vegetables, plus various condiments can be laid out buffet-style and diners assemble and roll their own fajitas.

Beyond the basic meat, tortillas and salsa or a squeeze of lime, fajitas often include refried beans, Mexican-style rice, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced green onions, canned jalapeƱo slices, Mexican crumbling cheese or grated Monterrey jack, avocado slices or guacamole, and sour cream. I have a posting for the salsa that my family loves in this blog on 8/26/19. It can be found in the archives by going to that month and year.

The recipe fills 4 to 6 hearty fajitas.


1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice for marinating plus 1 tablespoon for cooking

1 teaspoon salt for marinating chicken, plus 1/4 teaspoon for cooking

4 teaspoons chili powder (or see my preferred substitute below*)

1 medium-small onion

1 medium or half a large red bell pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil for meat plus 1 tablespoon for vegetables

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro

Flour tortillas (8-inch diameter) for serving

 

Trim off tough or fatty parts from chicken. Slice chicken pieces crosswise into thin slices (1/4 inch). If slices are long, cut them in half. Marinate chicken 20 minutes or more with lime juice, salt and chili powder or alternative spice mixture*.

 Cut off ends then peel onion. Cut in half lengthwise and slice lengthwise (julienne) into 1/8-inch strips. Core and stem pepper. Slice lengthwise into 1/4 wide strips. Stack them up and cut them in half.

 Heat large frying pan to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Quickly fry marinated chicken, turning often and scraping bottom of pan. When raw color is gone, remove meat to a bowl.

 Add another tablespoon oil to pan. Fry onion and pepper, sprinkling with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and fry several minutes until starting to soften.

 Add chicken back to the pan. Fry, stirring frequently, several minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir in cilantro. Transfer the mixture to a serving platter.

 To serve: Place some strips of chicken plus fried onion and pepper on a flour tortilla. Optionally, add salsa, grated or crumbled cheese, seasoned beans, avocado strips, sour cream, etc., or squeeze a lime on the filling. Roll up and enjoy,

 

*Alternative spice mixture

2 1/4 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon (or more) cayenne

 

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