Admittedly, I’m a bit of a snob regarding chain restaurants. I wasn’t always this way (and I’m still not totally this way, as there are definitely a few I’ll go to); I used to basically keep the Chili’s in Dearborn, MI in business.
I cannot tell you how often I was at this freaking place, eating chicken enchilada soup and chicken fajitas (with the occasional Cajun chicken pasta to shake things up a bit). I mean…really. Although, I suppose it’s better than our other popular high school hangout, a smoky Ram’s Horn (vomit) at midnight.
I used to eat my Chili’s fajitas without sour cream (whaaaaaaat?) but with double cheese (oink) and I’d leave the sauteed onions on the side. Who’d have thought I’d end up eschewing chain restaurants after being such an anti-foodie?
I’ve made chicken fajitas many a time, and they’ve always turned out well (they’re pretty hard to screw up). But, when I saw this post, I wanted to try it out since I’d never really used an actual recipe. I will admit to thinking the marinade was a bit strange when I read the ingredients, since it included olive oil and balsamic – things I do not deem very Tex-Mexy in nature – but I went with it and, not unlike anything else I’ve tried from Lisa, the chicken turned out perfectly.
Some things about the terrible way I used to eat fajitas don’t change, though, and not consuming pico de gallo is one of them. I was never a big pico de gallo fan, given my dislike for cilantro and the fact that I’m not all that crazy for raw onions. If you’re like me, these fajitas are great with salsa (both arbol or chipotle) or just your standard hot sauce (personal favorites are Cholula and a local habanero hot sauce I recently found).
Adapted from Homesick Texan
For the chicken:
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2-3 dried chiles de arbol, stems removed
salt and pepper to taste
1 – 1.25 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
For the fajitas:
1 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 bell pepper, seeds and stems removed and thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
salt, to taste
6-8 flour tortillas, warmed
Pico de gallo or salsa
In a blender or food processor, add the lime juice through the chiles de arbol. Blend until smooth, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the marinade over the chicken in a shallow dish or a zip-topped bag and marinate for at least 1 hour.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1/2 Tbsp. of canola oil over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add it to the hot oil. Cook about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked thoroughly. Remove the chicken from the pan. Let it rest while you make the rest of the dish.
Heat the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil in the pan and cook the bell pepper and onion slices until tender and soft, about 6-8 minutes. Salt to taste.
Slice the chicken and serve with the bell pepper/onion mixture, guacamole, sour cream, pico or salsa, and cheese.