Chicken does well, south of the border, as these chicken fajitas will prove
I love chicken fajitas! Actually, I love all fajitas. Whether steak, seafood or chicken the whole concept of fajitas just seems to me to be a natural for the grill.
Although a great fajita can be had using a hot skillet, the smoky flavor that a grill contributes to the flavors almost seems mandatory. The grill compliments all the other flavors.
In the case of these chicken fajitas, we add a bit of mesquite smoke. We can envision that this is the real flavor that the Mexican cowboys of the old west must have experienced.
Chicken fajitas are relatively easy to make. Chicken is more forgiving than the tougher cuts of flank or skirt steak that is common with authentic steak fajitas, yet chicken is not as delicate as seafood.
Give these chicken fajitas a try. I think you’ll be amazed at the intensity of flavors that chicken picks up in this recipe.
- meat marinade (See Below)
- 1 - 1 1/2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into strips
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 large bell peppers, one red, one green, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 6 to 8 corn or flour tortillas (8 inch)
- 1-8 oz. bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese
- pint of sour cream
- hot sauce (optional)
- A handful of mesquite chips
- 1 can or bottle of regular beer
- 1/2 cup Extra-Virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground fresh black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- In a mixing bowl, combine marinade ingredients and mix well.
- Reserve 1 cup of marinade and refrigerate.
- Pour remaining marinade into a resealable freezer bag and add chicken and bell peppers. Allow to marinade in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight.
- Remove chicken and bell peppers from marinade and allow to drain. Discard marinade.
- Prepare a direct, high-heat fire.
- Once fire is ready, lightly oil a special grill frying pan or a 12-inch cast iron frying pan and place on the grill until hot.
- Sprinkle wood chips on fire and close lid. Once chips begin to smoke, add chicken, peppers and onion. Close lid and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and stir pan well. Drizzle with some of the reserved marinade and close lid. Cook another 4-5 minutes. Some people prefer their vegetables crisp, while others enjoy them completely soft. Cook according to your personal preference.
- Remove from fire. Check meat for doneness by cutting into a piece to see that the juices run clear, or better yet, use a meat thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).
- Serve with warm tortillas, sour cream, salsa, cheese, guacamole and hot sauce.
Entire chicken breasts may be marinated and then grilled. Cook as above, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and slice. Follow the remaining instructions using a stove-top skillet. You'll still achieve that great smokiness.
For a great presentation, preheat an oven to 350-degrees F and place an additional, lightly oiled cast iron skillet inside. Once the fajitas are removed from the grill, pour into hot skilled and drizzle with more reserved marinade and serve. The searing, smoking action is sure to impress.
Recipe © 2011 Gary Glen | Photo © 2011 Gary Glen | All rights reserved
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