Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Grilled Chicken Fajitas


Move over chicken cutlets!  My family has a new favorite chicken dish -- Grilled Chicken Fajitas. And this time of year, who can disagree.  The secret ingredient: Grapefruit!

If done correctly, Chicken Fajitas are an easy-to-make crowd-pleaser.  And if you follow this recipe, they are low in cholesterol and fat, and are gluten free!


Here is what you will need:

2 Lemons
3 Limes
2 Grapefruits
Chicken Breasts
1 Red Pepper
2 Onions
Avocado
Pepper Jack Cheese
Corn Tortillas
Cinnamon
Cumin
Garlic
Cilantro
Hot pepper paste or Jalapeno
Olive Oil



Clean and dry the Cilantro, then chop (or puree) it finely. 
Tip: Once cleaned and dried, Cilantro (and Parsley) leaves can last many weeks if refrigerated in a sealed container. 


Prepare the marinade by juicing lemons, limes, and grapefruit in a large bowl.  Add in 3-4 cloves of finely chopped garlic, a large handful of chopped cilantro, a diced onion, a tablespoon of cumin and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Season with salt, pepper and a little hot pepper paste. 


Rinse the chicken and add it to the marinate.  This citrus marinade works well for a few reasons.  First, it tenderizes the meat and cooks it a bit.  For packaged chicken, the citrus also breaks down the slippery coating on the chicken.  Finally, and most importantly, it adds unbelievable flavor!


  While the chicken is marinating, slice the 2nd onion and red pepper into strips.  If using Jalapeno, chop it into small pieces. 


Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a grill pan and saute peppers and onions until soft and slightly charred.   I added hot pepper paste/Jalapeno to this mixture as well as some salt and pepper. 
Take onions and peppers out of saute pan and set aside. 


Add the marinated chicken to the seasoned grill pan.  For thin sliced chicken, grill each side for 3 minutes.  For thicker cuts, grill for 5 minutes on each side.  Keep the marinade...


...and add it to a small grill pan with some olive oil.  Cook it down.



Heat the tortillas in the small grill pan.  Add marinade and olive oil, as needed. 


Slice the cooked chicken. 



Layer the tortillas with chicken, onions, peppers, jack cheese, avocado (you can use guacamole too) cilantro and maybe a little salsa! Fold and savor! 



For larger groups, all of the ingredients can be laid out on the table and guests can make their own! 



Poultry Tips:

If you have a whole chicken and need to take off the breast meat, here are some simple instructions:

Always start by cutting into the legs, where they are attached to the body.  Cut through the bone of both legs and then do the same for both wings, and set them aside.  Then turn chicken over (onto its back) and cut along center bone and slice out breast filets.  Put the bones into the freezer and later use for preparing chicken stocks. 

If your chicken breasts are too thick, do not start by pounding as this can weaken the muscle fibers and release juices. Lay the breasts on a cutting board and carefully (very carefully) slice horizontally/ lengthwise.  Then lightly pound.

When roasting chicken, to test whether it is cooked, pierce a small hole in the thickest meat.  If juices run clear, it is done.  If there is still some pink, it needs a bit more time.  Thermometers also work well!

When cooking chicken and other meats, it is always best to heat the plates that guest will be using.  This can be done by placing them on a rack above the stove while cooking; or into the oven for a few minutes at 200 degrees (or less). Even a slightly warmed plate will help maintain a more savory food temperature.



Special thanks to my dear friend Catherine T Nguyen who helped me with the photography.