Sizzlin’ Chicken Fajitas
I am a big fan of fajitas. Grilled veggies and meat encased in a tortilla and smothered in guacamole and sour cream, topped with fresh, cool salsa and some sharp cheddar jack cheese is a fantastic all-in-one meal. Prepare a fajita bar with many possibilities so everyone gets to put together their own combination of meats, veggies and toppings for a unique taste-bud pleasing experience!
On the morning of the day I was grilling the fajitas, I started with 1 large whole chicken breast (it was about a pound and a half to 2 pounds). I sliced the chicken into small strips, a little bit bigger than a bite. Place the strips into a resealable plastic storage bag. In a bowl, combine about 1/4 tsp of GARLIC POWDER, 1 tbsp of ONION POWDER, 2 tsp to 1 tbsp CUMIN, 1/2 tsp of CHILI POWDER, GROUND CAYENNE PEPPER to taste, 1 tsp PAPRIKA and 2 tsp CORIANDER. Pour over chicken and toss until the chicken is covered in the rub. Let sit in fridge for 6-8 hours. Take out no more than 1/2 hour before putting on the grill.
Slice a variety of peppers and a large onion for the fajitas.
To grill: Remember, I use only charcoal and wood, so if you have a gas grill, you may need to adjust. Prepare coals for cooking over direct heat. I have a cast iron skillet and grill pan to use on the grill. If you do not, an aluminum grill pan or disposable aluminum pans would be a good substitute. For fajitas, high heat is ideal to sear the meat and quickly cook the veggies, so once the coals have reached that state (hold your hand about 8-10 inches above coals and count. 2-4 seconds is high heat) spread the coals and replace the cooking grate. Place the pans over the coals and allow to heat up. Add 1-2 tbsp oil (I use extra-virgin olive oil or canola). Once they are hot, add the chicken, tossing every minute or so to prevent burning. The veggies won’t take as long, and I cooked mine in 2 batches, tossing frequently as well. The chicken will take less than 10 minutes to cook through. Remove from grill and keep warm until serving. If you have room, warm-up your tortillas, wrapped in foil, on the grill. As you can see, I don’t, so the microwave suffices.
I also grilled some ears of corn to go along with the fajitas. Peel the husks back and remove as much of the silks as you can. Leaving several layers of the husks, soak in water for 20 minutes before putting on the grill. I cooked these off to the side as much as I could this time and rotated the corn often. They will need about 20 minutes to cook until tender. Other times, I close the lid and have the corn over indirect heat, turning every 5 minutes or so.
The Guacamole and Salsa are very simple. For my Guacamole, I simply mash up one ripe avocado and combine it with the juice of one lime and one minced garlic clove (I have a garlic press that does the job for me and I use it almost every time I cook). Mix well and refrigerate. The Salsa is just as easy. I use all of the colorful bell peppers-green, yellow, red and orange-as well as a sweet onion and roma tomatoes (they are a fleshier, firmer tomato). Dice all and combine with a tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro, a minced garlic clove and some lime juice. The last time I made this, I diced half of each pepper and a small onion, one large roma tomato and a small garlic clove with the juice of one lime. It made about 2 cups of salsa. I like this type of chunky salsa better than the more saucy kind. Although, technically, it isn’t really a salsa because it’s not saucy! This chunky pepper combination is great later on combined with the guacamole and eaten with multi-grain or blue corn tortilla chips.
Next time, I will tell you more about cooking with charcoal. Until then, Grill, Baby, Grill!