Monday, September 2, 2013

Chicken Fajitas

I first made this recipe for my husband's birthday.  While we technically have a grill (and I would love to try to make grilled chicken fajitas someday!), it doesn't have any grill grates so it's not exactly usable at this point.  So I needed to find a recipe that could be done on the stove or in the oven.  And, of course, Cook's Illustrated delivered.

While this does take some time to make, this recipe wasn't too hard and I love that much of it can be prepped ahead of time.  You cook the chicken on the stove, and the vegetables, surprisingly, get broiled in the oven (the onions are especially good).  And the end result is amazing!  Probably one of my favorite dishes that we've had all year.  We loved it so much that we served it to his parents when they came to visit a few weeks later.

I never could get the tortillas warmed by their recommended method so I always ended up putting them in the microwave for about 30 seconds right before serving.  But I've still included the instructions, in case you have more success than I did!

We served this with homemade tortillas, homemade salsa, homemade guac, homemade Greek yogurt, and black beans on the side.  And, of course, my husband's amazing margaritas!

Chicken Fajitas
Taken from: Cook's Illustrated
Serves 4-6
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed, chile minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of fat, tenderloins removed, breasts pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 1 large red onion (about 14 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (do not separate rings) -- we liked this so much I might have to double the onions next time
  • 1 large red bell pepper (about 10 ounces), quartered, stemmed, and seeded
  • 1 large green bell pepper (about 10 ounces), quartered, stemmed, and seeded
  • 8 - 12 plain flour tortillas (6-inch) - I recommend homemade!
  • Toppings: salsa (I recommend homemade), guacamole (I recommend homemade), sour cream/plain Greek yogurt
  1. In medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, Worcestershire, brown sugar, jalapeño, cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade in small bowl; set aside. Add another teaspoon salt to remaining marinade. Place chicken in marinade; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes (I often refrigerate mine for several hours if it's more convenient).
  2. Adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position (about 8 inches from heating element) and second rack to lower-middle position; heat broiler.
  3. Brush both sides of onion rounds and peppers with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange onion rounds and peppers (skin sides up) in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Wrap tortillas securely in foil in two packets, each containing half of tortillas.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels; discard marinade. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Swirl oil to coat skillet, then arrange chicken smooth side down in skillet in single layer; cook without moving chicken, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken; continue to cook until second sides are well browned, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, turning chicken once or twice, until chicken is no longer pink when cut into with paring knife or instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 160 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate and let rest 5 minutes.
  5. While chicken is cooking, place baking sheet with vegetables in oven on upper rack; place tortilla packets on lower rack. Broil vegetables until spottily charred and peppers are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer peppers to cutting board. Flip onion rounds and continue to broil until charred and tender, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Turn off broiler and remove vegetables, leaving tortillas in oven until needed.
  6. Separate onions into rings and place in medium bowl; slice bell peppers lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips and place in bowl with onions. Add 2 tablespoons reserved unused marinade to vegetables and toss well to combine. Slice chicken into 1/4-inch strips and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons reserved marinade in separate bowl; arrange chicken and vegetables on large platter and serve with warmed tortillas and any additional toppings.


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