Recipe: Chicken Fajitas

How are you all getting on at making those Tortillas?  Any better?  Good, because today I am introducing you to the one meal they are really made for. Chicken Fajitas have been a British midweek favourite for over twenty years.

You need the following:

  • Two large Tortillas each
  • Two chicken breasts
  • One white onion
  • One red pepper
  • Two handfuls of closed cap mushrooms
  • Mango chunks
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cajun spices
  • One beef steak tomato
  • Minced red chillis

And for the tomato sauce:

  • Two tins chopped tomato
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Mavrodaphne Greek Red Wine or sweet sherry
  • Pork stock

 To serve:  Sour cream

Let's start with the tomato sauce.  Place a medium sized sauce pan on a low heat and add two tins of decent quality chopped tomatoes.  Allow them to heat for a minute then add 125 ml of Mavrodaphne Greek Red Wine and two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.  Once they are up to heat, add 50 ml of pork stock and reduce to the lowest heat you can.  Test the flavour from time to time throughout the recipe.  Too sweet?  Add lemon juice.  Too sour?  Add wine or a little sugar.

Next, wash your hands.

Now, take a red chopping board and a medium sized plate.  Set your grill to maximum heat.  Take the chicken breasts and place them on the red board.  One at a time, carefully split them width ways down the centre to open them up like butterfly wings.

Done that?  Then wash your hands again, with extra soap this time, and please dry them carefully.

Using tongs, place the chicken under the grill and cook well on both sides, so that all the pinkness turns white, all the way through to the middle.  If the edges go a little brown, don't worry.  Using a second set of tongs, or a fork, place the cooked chicken on a plate.

Add the red board and the tongs to the washing up, and leave the chicken to cool.

Now take a green chopping board, a veg knife, and a big bowl.  Peel and finely dice the onion, then de seed and chop the pepper, and coarsely chop the mushroom.  Finally dice and chop the beef steak tomato.  Add all to the big bowl, including the mango chunks and mix them all around.

Now take a big wok or frying pan - the biggest you can get your hands on.  Place it on a high heat and add a tablespoonful of oil.

Add the bowlful of onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomato and mango and stir well for about five minutes to allow everything to sweat and cook.  Stir well.  Reduce the heat of the pan to about one quarter. 

While they are sweating, add the green board and knife to the washing up and wash out the veg bowl, then give it a quick dry with paper towel.

Once the vegetables look nearly cooked, take your chicken from the plate and rip it to shreds, literally, with your hands and add it to the vegetables in the pan.

Stir in well, then add two or three heaped tablespoons of Cajun Spices and a teaspoonful of Cayenne Pepper.  You can be very generous with the spices.  This is Mexican cooking after all.

How is the tomato sauce looking?  Not bubbling?  Taste nice and flavoursome?  Then add one ladle of sauce to the pan.

Now, before we go any further, I would wash your hands and find a clean, sealable plastic container.  Add the rest of the tomato sauce to the container, and place the lid over the top, diagonally, to allow steam to escape.  When the sauce has cooled enough, (it takes about an hour), seal the lid and place it in the fridge.  It keeps for two to three days and you can even freeze it.

Keep stirring all the ingredients, then add two teaspoons of minced chillies.  You find them in the Asian section of your supermarket and they save a lot of chopping of chillies which can be  a hazardous venture if you rub your eyes.

Have a taste of the ingredients.  They should be spicy with a slightly underlying sweetness. Finally, transfer everything in the pan to the mixing bowl, which can double as a serving bowl.

Heat the tortillas we made earlier for about thirty seconds, and serve the whole lot with sour cream and salsa.

[box type="note"]Tip: give each person plenty of napkins or paper towels.[/box]

Lay the table with a plate on each placing, with two large tortillas on it.  Forget the knife and fork.  Place the bowl in the middle of the table with a serving spoon.

To eat a fajita can be a bit messy at first.  Place one tablespoon of chicken and vegetables in the middle of the tortilla.  Fold up the end furthest away from you, then fold over the sides, nice and tight, and eat from the end facing towards you.  Practice makes perfect.


Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.