Many of my favorite foods, outside of Middle Eastern, are Mexican. I love the flavors, colors, and variety that Mexican cuisine has to offer. Whenever we have Mexican night at home, we usually have an entire spread of meats and fun fixings like sautéed colored peppers, caramelized onions, guacamole, salsa, and the list goes on. Yummy!!
Fajitas hold a special place in my heart because it reminds me of group dinners with my roommates in France. Once a week, we ate dinner together, and one of us was responsible for the meal. One particular week, when it was my turn to cook dinner, I decided to cook fajitas. While I absolutely love French cheeses, breads, and the fondue dinners, I sometimes craved the vibrant flavors of different spices mixed together. It was also a great opportunity to introduce my roommates to Mexican flavors. My Austrian roommate had eaten Mexican food often when she studied abroad in Atlanta, Georgia, but my English roommate had never tried fajitas. After I made them the first time, it became one of our dinner staples. “What’s for dinner tonight?” “Fajitas!” My English flatmate asked me to write down this recipe a while ago. Here it is, finally.
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into thin slices
2-3 bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp powdered garlic (or 1 clove, finely chopped)
2 tsp true lime powder (or 3 tbsp lime juice)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup oil (for the marinade)
For the spices, feel free to add more or less according to your taste buds! If you like spicy, double the cayenne pepper. If you’re not a fan of citrus, add less lemon or lime. Have fun with it!
1. Place chicken in a bowl. Add spices and oil and mix until the poultry is well coated. The chicken will have a stronger flavor if allowed to marinate for a few hours, or even overnight.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the chicken. Since it’s best not to overcrowd the pan, you may choose to cook the chicken in two batches. Cook on medium heat until the chicken have a nice browned color (not burned or dry, but well seared). Having a grill out? Marinate the chicken breasts as whole pieces and grill for about 5-8 minutes, or until fully cooked (depends on the size of the chicken pieces!) (I decided to leave my chicken in large slices, and to cut it when it was done cooking. It’s takes a bit longer to cook this way, but it doesn’t dry out as much).
3. In a larger skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add the onions and let cook until tender. Cooking the onions first lets them reach a nice golden brown by the time the peppers are done cooking. Add the peppers and cook until tender. If the peppers and onions begin drying out or browning, reduce heat and add a little more oil.
4. When your chicken and peppers are done cooking, assemble the fajitas with your favorite toppings! Guacamole, salsa, sour cream, black beans…whatever your heart desires. Or make a fajita salad with chopped romaine lettuce. Once you’ve got the chicken and peppers, the possibilities are endless.