The last time I posted a recipe for chicken Fajitas was over 2 1/2 years ago so when I launched into making them this past Sunday I decided it was time to pay this supremely delicious dish another visit.
Everyone in our house has a handful of favorite dishes and I try to make sure to rotate these special dinners to please every palate. Lots of times my decision to please one person over another is determined by what kind of day that person has had or if it is a special occasion just for them. If my daughter has had a tough day or a day when she deserves a reward for being the best daughter even for one thing or another, then I make her favorite dinner. The same goes for my son or husband or a friend who comes to dinner and I feel like pleasing them especially just for being around.
I know what everyone likes and there is nothing more gratifying to me than seeing a happy face when dinner shows up and it is just for them. This particular labor of love, the Chicken Fajita Dinner, is for Dave. I know for absolute certain it is his choice every time if I am taking dinner requests, or it’s his birthday dinner or even the last meal he would like to eat before he dies! He said he could eat chicken fajitas every night if it were up to him. Besides the fact that he would learn to hate them if it is all he had to eat, they are also a laborious dish to make. It is not that they are difficult, just that they take more time than I am willing to spend on dinner on a daily basis.
The best way to tackle a meal like this is to prep some of the ingredients ahead of time if you get the chance. If you do this all at once, it is an undertaking. Of course the reason this dish is complicated is because I insist on making the tortilla from scratch, but it is also the reason they are so delicious and worth making in the first place: a total catch 22!
I cannot emphasize how amazing a fresh homemade tortilla tastes. Unlike the ones you find in the supermarket which invariably have a “gluey” consistency, the homemade one is light, airy and soft. It is one of the most heavenly things in the world and I use them not just in this dish but they are amazing to wrap scrambled eggs in or to fry on the pan with a filling like HERE
It is work but if you want to hang out in your kitchen with a few friends (or blissfully alone) making this dish is deeply satisfying. This is one of those dishes were the pleasure of cooking it is equal to the pleasure everyone gets from eating it – Provecho!
Tortilla Recipe (makes 8 -10 Flour tortilla)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbs shortening (I use Crisco Brand)
1 cup warm water
Chicken Fajita Recipe:
3 chicken breast fillets – very thinly sliced (I like to semi-freeze them which makes them easier to cut into thin pieces)
2 or 3 chipotle pepper with about 1 tbs of adobo sauce (click HERE to find out more)
2 big cloves garlic, very finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 red pepper – thinly sliced
1 green pepper – thinly sliced
2 or 3 cups baby or chopped spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups cheese (anything will do: cheddar, fontina…)
1 cup chopped fresh coriander, including stems
2 cups refried beans ( I cheat and but a can, but feel free to boil pinto beans according to instructions!) warmed.
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
tapatio sauce (read HERE if you want to know more)
1 – Put flour and salt into a bowl and stir together with a whisk. Add the shortening and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it is incorporated. Make a well in the center and add the warm water. Mix with a wooden spoon until it come together.
2 – Turn out onto a floured surface and it a little bit. Roll into a log.
3 – Cut into 8 to 10 pieces (as even as you can make them). roll into balls and allow to rest on a floured board for about 20 minutes covered with a damp cloth (you can be getting on with the rest of the recipe)
4 – Take a dough ball and place on floured surface and pound with the heel of your hand until it is round. use a floured rolling-pin to roll into about an 8″ in diameter (as round as you can get it, but it doesn’t have to be perfect by any means!)
5 – Put a skillet onto just slightly under medium heat and when it is up to temperature add a tortilla. cook until it begins to puff up in spots and then flip.
6 – Cook until browned in spots (under a minute) and remove to a paper towel or cloth and cook all tortilla (stacking between cloth or paper towels) until you have cooked them all. They will keep warm like this while you cook the filling.
Make Chicken Fajita Filling:
1 – Place sliced chicken along with the garlic, lime juice, 3 tbs oil and chopped chipotle peppers with adobo sauce into a bowl and mix together until well-combined. Let sit in fridge for at least 20 minutes (or can be done hours ahead)
2 – Put saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs vegetable or olive oil. when it is hot add the sliced peppers and cook quickly – about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
3 – Add some more oil to the pan (about 1 tbs) and cook the chicken in batches until done. The chicken will not cook correctly if added all at the same time (it will become too moist and cook slower and become tough). Each batch should only take 3 to 5 minutes.
4 – Turn pan off or down to the lowest setting if not serving immediately along the peppers, (I keep them separate as some people don’t want either the peppers or the chicken)
Assemble your fajita:
I like to let everyone do their own. It’s more fun for them and less work for you!
I usually start with the bean, then add some chicken and peppers, followed by spinach and/or cilantro, cheese, sour cream and topped with a drizzle of tapatio sauce. Wrap it up and enjoy!