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Making Fajitas at Home

at24 Feb 9, 2009 11:39 AM

Hey fellow Chowhounds-

Does anyone out there make fajitas at home? Mine never come out good (not ever as tasty as a restaurant) . Does anyone have any good tips. I usual cut up chicken and use a powdered fajita mix, cooked up in a skillet on the stovetop. Please help.. would broiling the chicken be better? I do not own a grill currently.

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  1. ChinoWayne RE: at24 Feb 9, 2009 11:48 AM

    I cut up my chicken then soak it in a marinade for at least an hour. When I saute I use a very hot pan with some oil in it, and I don't crowd the pan, frequently doing the veggies and the chicken separately. Keeping the amount of food in the pan minimal keeps excess food from cooling the pan, you want to cook quickly at high heat.

    The other tip, if you marinate the chicken, use paper towels to "dry" the pieces as much as possible before cooking, otherwise the excess marinade will likely burn in the pan.

    1. todao RE: at24 Feb 9, 2009 11:57 AM

      It's important to saute the chicken in pieces (strips) and to add the other ingredients to the same pan when the chicken has been cooked and removed. The cooking of the other ingredients (onions, garlic, peppers, etc) in the same pan contributes to a fond that eventually becomes part of the combined elements to produce the rich flavors in the fajitas.
      I usually deglaze the pan with a splash of wine after returning the chicken to the cooked veggies. I am not a fan of marinade for fajitas - but I have no reason to advise against using it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: todao
        valerie RE: todao Feb 9, 2009 03:54 PM

        I have been making these Quick Chicken Fajitas for years and they are foolproof. You cook the peppers and onions first, then add the chicken. I guess you could cook the chicken first but I've been making it this way forever and they are always a hit. In fact, for some reason they fell out of the regular rotation and when I made them again last week for the first time in months, we remembered how good (and easy) they are.

        By the way, I don't like green pepper but use a combination of red and yellow peppers plus red onion (recipe just says "onion").


        1. re: valerie
          valerie RE: valerie Feb 10, 2009 09:36 AM

          By the way, I forgot to add that I usually double the amount of spices.

      2. c
        cocktailhour RE: at24 Feb 9, 2009 02:13 PM

        don't use a powdered mix. I am sure you can find a recipe for your own spices on epicurious or somewhere on the internet. Try salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, chili powder. You could try broiling or maybe a grill pan. If you use boneless breasts, a marinade with some acid (onion garlic cilantro spices lime) will help make it tender. Immediately after cooking, squeeze fresh lime all over. Fajitas are traditionally grilled, so it must be dry, not with any sauce.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cocktailhour
          LaLa RE: cocktailhour Feb 9, 2009 02:15 PM

          make sure the pan is very very hot.

          1. re: cocktailhour
            James Cristinian RE: cocktailhour Feb 9, 2009 02:36 PM

            Fajitas are also traditionally made from beef skirt steak, not chicken. What you folks are making is chicken wrapped in a tortilla.

          2. b
            beggsy RE: at24 Feb 9, 2009 04:33 PM

            My favourite fajita recipe from Epicurious. Best if you can grill the chicken (indoors or out). Don't forget to season well with salt and pepper before grilling. The coleslaw is wonderful. I use bagged coleslaw instead of the purple cabbage.


            1. s
              Stuffed Monkey RE: at24 Feb 9, 2009 07:23 PM

              My chicken (and or shrimp)marinade is 1/3 lime juice, 1/3 Tequilla and 1/3 vegetable oil.
              The steak, skirt of course, is 1/3 lime juice, 1/3 worchestershire sauce and 1/3 Tequilla. I cooked them on the outdoor grill as this was done at the beach. Maybe not as authentic, but really good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Stuffed Monkey
                Stuffed Monkey RE: Stuffed Monkey Feb 10, 2009 08:02 AM

                I forget since I haven't made them in a while that I add oregano (I used dried) to the chicken marinade,.

              2. a
                at24 RE: at24 Feb 10, 2009 07:57 AM

                thanks everyone for the input. I will try broiling and using the Epicurious recipe. I agree, I need to dabble more with spices and forget the powdered mixes....

                1. Phoo_d RE: at24 Feb 10, 2009 08:01 AM

                  I make fajitas at home a lot and have found that a cast iron skillet will work wonders. I cook the meat strips and onion/peppers separately before adding them back into the pan with a mixture of seasonings (I usually use chipolte powder, ancho powder, epazote, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and oregano) and about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. I mix about 1/4 of water with the seasonings and cornstarch, whisking until the cornstarch is smooth, then pour it into the pan with all the other ingredients. The liquid will evaporate quickly and all of the filling will be nicely coated with the seasonings.

                  1. avgolemona RE: at24 Feb 10, 2009 10:16 AM

                    Lime juice is the key to making it taste like fajitas.

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