Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chicken Fajitas

Like many others, yesterday, we were getting our taste buds tantalized by Mexican food.  Any excuse will do for us.  It is one of our favorite cuisines.

We enjoyed chicken fajitas and home made pico de gallo and guacamole.

And, of course, margaritas!  Strawberry-lime.  A bit sweet with a sour flavor that lingered. 

The only way it would have been better is if we had more people over to share in the festivities.  We'll have to work that in next time. 

First up, prepared (and poured) the margaritas.  This made the whole process more enjoyable, although it did slow it down some, by causing much dancing around in the kitchen and joke telling.  Recipe: Two cups fresh strawberries, one quarter cup fresh lime juice, 6 ounces tequila and 2 ounces Triple Sec - blended in the blender until mostly smooth, then poured on the rocks.  Forgot the salt.  Not sure, but I think that was a good thing.

Next, prepared the pico de gallo.  Diced three tomatoes and one (medium) sweet onion, then combined with one can green chilis (drained), 1/8 cup fresh chopped cilantro from our plant out back, some lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Then the guacamole.  Mashed the meat from three avocados.  Combined with one medium sweet onion (diced) and 1/8 cup lemon juice.  To be sure the guacamole stayed green while cooking the fajitas, a thin layer of additional lemon juice was poured over the top.

Then the preparations for the marinade began.  In hindsight, this should have been step one?  Oh well, everything turned out fine in the end.

For the fajitas, we used six boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  The thighs were placed (whole) in a bowl, and tossed in the marinade.  Recipe: Combine 1/4 cup prepared lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano. 

Then I prepared the vegetables.

Sliced a red and a yellow bell pepper.  Sliced two onions.  Sliced four mushrooms.  

Tossed everything but the mushrooms into a large saute pan with some olive oil over medium-low heat.

Allowed the veggies to cook with an occasional stir to keep them moving in the pan, while I sliced the chicken thighs.

Tossed the chicken thigh strips into the pan with the veggies and sauted until the chicken was mostly cooked.  Added in the mushrooms and continued cooking until the chicken was fully done.  [To check for doneness, choose one of the thicker pieces of chicken and cut in half with your spatula.  If it isn't all the same color throughout, and you still see pink, continue cooking and re-check in another minute or two.]

To plate the fajitas, we keep things pretty simple.  We don't normally warm our tortillas but they'd probably be better if we did.

We all prepare our fajitas differently.  This is my preferred order.  Lie a tortilla on the plate, add the hot fajita mixture and top with salsa / pico de gallo and guacamole (or sometimes just slices of avocado).  Sometimes I add hot sauce or hotter salsa, but last night I just wanted to enjoy the simple flavors already incorporated into the meal. 

Additional toppings which work very well are sour cream, fresh lime juice, and hot sauce (such as Tapatio, Chalula).

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