Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pollo Fajitas

I had some leftover onion and bell peppers, both green and red, from making my Northwestern Salmon Chowder the other night, and I wanted to use them before they went limp. I was trying to think of what to make with them, but every dish I thought of involved some ingredient not currently in my kitchen. Finally, it hit me... chicken fajitas! I didn't think I had any fajita mix (I was in the car on my way home from work and couldn't check), but I wanted to do things a little differently. Every time I've made fajitas, I've been disappointed. Andy and I eat fajitas at Mexican restaurants all the time, and homemade just never measured up. So I thought "Screw the fajita seasoning," and decided to look for a popular recipe online.

4:00 PM: Arrived home, liberated the puppy from her crate, put a package of frozen chicken breasts in the microwave to defrost, and headed out on a walk with both dogs.

4:20 PM: Return from walk, log into allrecipes.com, and start searching for a recipe that didn't involve anything I didn't have in my kitchen.

4:30 PM: Recipe selected and printed out. Wrote down a few modifications from reviewers and got started!

Basically, the recipe I selected was for a marinade. I had envisioned marinading whole chicken breasts, grilling them on the George Foreman, and then slicing them up, but this recipe called for cutting the raw meat into strips and frying them in the skillet. A little skeptical because this is method that my disappointing fajitas used, I decided to go with it anyway.

It took me very little time to combine a little Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic, hot sauce, and cumin.

Still skeptical about this cooking method, I dug into the chicken:

4:45 PM: Put chicken strips in marinade, mix it, set it aside. The recipe said to do 30 minutes if at room temperature, or "several hours" in the fridge. I compromised and did 30 minutes on the counter, followed by an hour and a half in the fridge.

Next step: Cut up veggies! This particular recipe said to use green bell pepper and onion, but I included red bell pepper, as well.

4:50 PM: Dinner is about as prepared as it can be for now. Make a pot of coffee, clean up kitchen, and start working on my term papers.

6:45 PM: Just got a text from Andy, he's almost home. Heat up the skillet with some oil, then stir fry the chicken for 5 minutes.

Add veggies and saute for another 3-5 minutes.

7:00 PM: Dinner is served! Andy had just walked in the door after a long day at work, and the food smelled so good that I forgot to take a final picture.

I remembered halfway though dinner:

Sorry, I know that's not real helpful - you can't see the filling. Maybe a picture of what was left in the pan is better?

Fail, I know.

But I have to say that this recipe was pretty good! Andy would have liked it marinated longer, but I think that the biggest problem from my standpoint is that there were too many veggies for the amount of chicken, overpowering the chicken a bit. But the flavor was better than any of the fajita seasonings packets I've used - less intense on the surface of the chicken, and more flavorful in the interior. It was juicy, not rubbery, so maybe I've just been overcook chicken in the past? Either way, it was easy, fast, and tasty. Not bad for a busy Tuesday night.

For anyone who would like to try it:

Pollo Fajitas:

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin (added based on reviewers' suggestions)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dash hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into strips
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced (originally 1 whole)
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced (originally 1 whole)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced (my addition)
1/2 lemon, juiced (I didn't use this)

In a medium bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, chili powder, cumin, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. Place chicken in sauce and turn to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken strips to the pan and saute for 5 minutes. Add the onion and peppers, and saute another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon juice.

[From allrecipes.com]

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