Chicken fajitas




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2 skinless chicken breast fillets, preferably organic

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, or regular oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or ½ teaspoon pouring salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 x 15ml tablespoon garlic oil, plus 2 teaspoons

2 x 15ml tablespoons lime juice

2 x 15ml tablespoons groundnut oil or regular olive oil

2 onions, peeled, halved and cut into thin half-moons

1 red pepper, core and seeds removed, cut into strips

1 orange pepper, core and seeds removed, cut into strips

1 yellow pepper, core and seeds removed, cut into strips

8 soft flour tortillas (see introduction above)

optional accompaniments:

100g Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated

125ml crème fraîche or sour cream

1 x 198g can corn niblets, drained

1 large avocado (or 2 small), finely diced and dressed with ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes and 2 teaspoons lime juice

¼-½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 ramekin chopped fresh coriander

hot chilli sauce, to serve (optional)


Over a shallow bowl, cut the chicken with a pair of scissors into thin (1-2cm) strips lengthways, then halve the long strip across to give 2 shorter strips (to echo the pepper strips later). Don't get too hung up on precision, though; you're just trying to cut things into easily wrappable and munchable shapes.

Once the chicken has been snipped into the dish, add the oregano, cumin, salt, sugar, 1 tablespoon garlic oil and the lime juice. Mix everything about and leave to marinate while you get on with the onions and peppers. And preheat the oven to 125°C/gas mark ½ if you wish to warm your tortillas.

Warm the groundnut or olive oil in a large frying pan or wok and fry the half-moon onion slices over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Spread the tortillas out on a baking sheet and put in the oven to warm.

Add the pepper strips to the onion pan and cook for a further 10 minutes. When both onions and peppers are tender, remove to a bowl.

Warm the remaining 2 teaspoons garlic oil in the pan and tip in the chicken with its marinade. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Check the chicken is piping hot and cooked through, add the onions and peppers from the bowl, stir together then decant to a serving dish.

Take the warmed tortillas out of the oven and put on the table alongside the chicken tangled in onions and peppers and all the other accoutrements. Wrap what you fancy in the tortillas to eat straightaway.


I don't know if it is the male part of me or the child part (though the overlap is disconcerting, so confusion is to be expected) but I love a bit of DIY at the table, Fajitas - pronounced "faheetas" for Tex-Mex authenticity, or, to show solidarity with Kath'n'Kim, "fagytas" - offer occupation but no concentration, and this goes for cook as well as diner.

These are, I guess, the Tex-Mex answer to the Chinese duck and pancakes, but more do-able at home. For one, you can buy the tortillas (and I would advise buying 2 packets rather than just the one specified, as I normally find I could do with one or two tortillas more - you could always freeze what you don't use till next time), and the chicken is the work of minutes.

I am prepared to accept that this is an inauthentic gringo version. What do I know? Well, what I do know is that this is a cheering supper - again for cook and eater alike - and it doesn't, to me, taste very different to the fajitas I've come across on my travels.

Here, I've made a kind of stir-fry, a juicy tangle of onion, peppers and spiced chicken; at other times, I cook the onions and peppers together and the chicken separately. And when I've got leftover chicken, I often use this recipe as a first-stop user-upper, adding cold cooked shredded chicken to the pepper and onions and tossing altogether in the pan till piping hot all the way through.

The traditional salsa that should be part of the medley of accompaniments is not really to my taste, as it tends towards the overwhelmingly vinegary, so instead I bring out some Jumbo Chilli Sauce (see p.121) that I always keep in my fridge (although if you were to dispense with the onions and peppers here, I suggest you make the tomato salsa I indicate for the Mexican Lasagne on p.105). I should add that it doesn't matter if you don't have any Mexican oregano; do use regular oregano. I just happened to buy some of the former when I was last in the States and rather love its earthy Mexican farmyard resonance. But I suspect this is all in the head.

One final note: for a quick and cross-generational supper, you could prepare the chicken pieces as below, but instead of turning them into fajitas, stir them through the Rice and Peas on p.344.

The onion and peppers can be cut 1 day in advance. Cover tightly with clingfilm and refrigerate. The chicken can be cut 1 day in advance and tossed with the oregano, cumin and garlic oil. Cover tightly with clingfilm and refrigerate. Add the lime juice and salt just before cooking.




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