Homemade Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas are my favorite Mexican dish. Part of the reason for this is that I do not know a lot of Mexican dishes 😉 and I have never actually been to Mexico. My first introduction to chicken fajitas was in Marblehead, MA, USA, in the summer of 1997. I was visiting an American friend and this is what we had for dinner one night while I was there. I don’t remember exactly how it was prepared, but I do remember I thought they were absolutely delicious. I’ve been making them myself ever since, and it is one of the very few dishes for which so far I have ‘resorted to’ buying store-bought components (salsa and flour tortillas).

Chicken fajitas are chicken, bell pepper, and onion, wrapped in a flour tortilla with a spicy salsa and grated cheese. The last two posts have been about making the flour tortillas and salsa from scratch. This post is the last of the trilogy, in which I show you how I prepared the fajitas.

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Chicken fajitas are often made with chicken breast, but as usual I like chicken thighs better because they are more juicy and have more flavor. The meat is often marinated using beer, white wine, or water. I prefer to use oil instead because it will make it a lot easier to brown the chicken (as it would otherwise release a lot of the liquid that was absorbed when you try to brown it). I like to use smoked paprika in the spice mix because it gives the meat a smoky flavor without actually having to build a charcoal fire. Fajitas are often served with sides like guacamole, sour cream, or refried black beans, but I like to keep things simple. (Well as simple as you can when you make everything from scratch…)

If you’ve never had chicken fajitas, please give them a try. Even with store-bought salsa and flour tortillas they are pretty great, and very easy to make. If you don’t like it too spicy, buy a mild salsa (or make your own and go easy on the chile peppers).

Ingredients

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For 4 fajitas, serves 2

225 grams (.5 lb) boneless and skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breast)

2 bell peppers, preferably different colors

1 large onion

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground coriander

4 Tbsp olive oil

4 flour tortillas

250 ml (1 cup) salsa

grated cheese

Preparation

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Combine the meat in a bowl with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, the salt, cayenne pepper, coriander, garlic, smoked paprika, oregano, and cumin.

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Stir to mix.

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Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least half an hour.

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Slice the onion into rings and the bell peppers into strips. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onions. It is easier to break up a slice of onion into individual rings when it has been cooking for a minute or so.

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Add the peppers.

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Stir fry over high heat until the onions and peppers are slightly soft and starting to char in places.

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Move the peppers and onions to the side and add the marinated chicken.

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Continue to stir fry until the chicken is nicely browned and just cooked through. Do not overcook the chicken.

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Set up a production line with the chicken mixture, warm flour tortillas, the salsa, and grated cheese.

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Take a tortilla and arrange some chicken, pepper strips, and onions in a line. Leave about 5 cm (2″) bare. Do not overfill the fajita, as it will be impossible to close it if you do.

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Top with salsa (to taste, 2-4 Tbsp) and grated cheese (to taste, about 2 Tbsp).

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Fold over the end that you kept bare.

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Fold over the sizes as well to close the ‘envelope’.

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That’s all! Your chicken fajita is now ready to be enjoyed.

Wine pairing

Fajitas are most commonly enjoyed with beer. Since I don’t drink beer, I’m providing a wine pairing anyway. I like fajitas with a crisp fruity white like a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand that goes well with the spiciness, or a dry rosé that goes well with the tomatoes and the bell peppers. A red option is a zweigelt from Austria. Its spiciness goes well with the spiciness of the salsa.

24 thoughts on “Homemade Chicken Fajitas

  1. These look wonderful! I actually don’t put cheese on mine, but that just goes to show how many variations are possible with fajitas. I really love to add spinach and sweet potatoes to the fajitas, as well. Three of us in my family, out of four, just prefer veggies over meat. But the peppers and onions are mandatory!

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  2. One of my favorites as well! I just love how it’s served sizzling in cast iron dishes 🙂 No cheese in most restaurants here, but it can only make it yummier 🙂 My friends in Spain and Germany have complained about the lack of some necessary Mexican ingredients such as poblano peppers, and how cilantro just doesn’t taste the same. It will be nice if the European supermarkets would find a way to import some. It can’t be much harder than US getting so much produce from China 🙂

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    • It is interesting how some foods are available in once place and impossible to find in another. For instance, cavolo nero is easier to find in Australia than it is here in the Netherlands, even though Italy is a lot closer.

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  3. Well done! And homemade tortillas are always superior.

    I like the wine pairing as well.

    BTW, a lot of cooks in Texas will tell you Fajitas are technically Tex-Mex (a variant of Mexican food with Texas ingredients). Hard to really know for sure, but what we can tell you is that if you like Fajitas there are a lot of other Tex-Mex recipes to try. Homesicktexan is a blog with many of those recipes, if you are interested…

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    • Thanks for the tip, I’ll try that out. I did find quite a few fajita recipes on Mexican sites, but I wouldn’t be surprised if even those have been influenced by Tex-Mex. I suppose that’s similar to American-Italian cuisine, which has dishes with Italian sounding names that nobody in Italy knows of.

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  4. We eat Fajita’s here quite often as a simple dish to use up leftovers…. BTW, a similar but very good version is to use pita bread. I brush them with garlic oil and then warm them in foil to make them supple. I like home-made tortillas but the commercial ones are usually awful.

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  5. This is one of my favorite meals. I make them in a very similar way. When I lived in Spain, I always made fajitas for the family that I lived with – and also for a good friend and her family in France – there was nothing like it if you went out to eat. This recipe brings back fond memories. I love to put homemade guacamole on my fajitas and serve them with a side of frijoles… but I am guessing avocados are tough to find for you!!! This looks delicious – I can almost taste it – thanks for the recipe and for bringing back great memories, too. PS – Your tortillas looks so good. Still impressed that you ordered a tortilla press and made your own!!! 🙂

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  6. I’m with you, Stefan. Fajitas are my favorite dish, too, and I opt for chicken over beef every time. It’s too easy to overcook the beef and I find that unpalatable. I like your recipe, though the cheese is new to me, as others mentioned. WIth or without the cheese, yours is a great tasting dish that isn’t difficult to prepare.

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    • Thanks, John. You should definitely try them with cheese, as that is what takes them over the top for me. It is interesting to me that others have mentioned fajitas without cheese as well, as all the fajitas I’ve ever seen, including the recipes in Spanish I check out before encountering on this ‘from scratch’ adventure, have cheese in them.

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  7. Great post, Stefan, and it looks very tasty. Stewart @ Putney Farms is correct about fajitas in that they did originate in Texas, much like puffy tacos, chile con carne, nachos, and a few other items people classify as Mexican food. Typically, the meat, albeit chicken or beef, is marinated and then cooked over an open fire. The onions and peppers are also grilled. The meat is then sliced in thin strips, piled high on a plate and served with flour tortillas, the grilled veggies, a variety of salsas, guacamole, rice and beans (either refried or borracho beans). The salsas will include pico de gallo, salsa verde for chicken, salsa macha for those brave of heart, salsa fesca, lime pickled red onions, etc. Cheese is also served on the side. It’s quite the summer bbq feast. 🙂

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    • We mostly have them in summer, but I like them to bring a little summer into autumn or winter as well 🙂
      We don’t have them with rice and beans, because we like having two fajitas and then we’re stuffed 😉

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      • I actually agree with you! I might have one side vegetable dish, but don’t put out rice and beans because of the vast amount of food! And rice and beans are so filling! I’d rather eat the good stuff!

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