Okay so Cinco de Mayo, it's more of an American holiday than a Mexican holiday. Just so that we have a bit of history as to why Mexicans celebrate this day is because it commemorates the Mexican victory in 1862 of the French-Mexican War of the Battle of Puebla. We have adopted the celebration as a gastronomic and cultural celebration in the United States. For that reason it has evolved every year to indulge and enjoy many Mexican dishes and beverages on this day.
Fajitas are a Tex-Mex dish. In the 1930's and 1940's Mexican ranch workers in the Rio Grand Valley created this dish. The traditional way of preparing the dish is with skirt steak, and the other name of the dish in Spanish is arracheras which literally translates to skirt steak. The farms where these workers worked were cattle farms, and after butchering the cattle the Mexican ranch workers would get the left overs of the scrapes and trimmings like skirt steak. In most cuisines everything is used, and this is a great example of a dish to show that nothing went to waste. They cooked the trimmings and skirt steak directly over the camp fire and placed the cooked meat in a tortilla and the "fajita"was born. This dish caught on with time adding onions, peppers, and changing the protein to various types.
This recipe is my adaptation to the waste not Mexican ranch workers in Texas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!
Yields 4 servings
Time: 30-40 minutes
5 bone-less skin-less chicken thighs- you can do 2 breast and 3 thighs if you prefer
1 yellow sweet onion - sliced
1 organic yellow bell pepper -sliced
1 organic green bell pepper -sliced
1 organic red bell pepper -sliced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Cilantro is optional as well
Sharp Cheddar cheese - grated (optional)
1. Over medium/high heat add olive oil about 1 1/2 tablespoons on flat sauté pan or skillet. Add the onions and a pinch or 2 of salt, let them sweat for about 1 minute.
2. The add the peppers and season with some of cumin, chili powder and more salt and pepper. Allow the vegetables to cook for 3-5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile prepare the chicken, slice the chicken into thin strips. Season with salt and pepper both sides, and sprinkle with the remaining garlic, chili, and cumin powder.
4. Once the vegetables are al dente (sauté but with a little bite to them), remove them and place them on a plate.
5. Heat the remaining olive oil on the sauté pan and add the chicken. Let this cook for about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stripes. If they are sliced thick cook for another 3-4 minutes. You want the chicken to be fully cooked and reach a temperature of 160-165 degrees.
6. Once the chicken is cooked, add the vegetables back to the sauté pan and mix it all together.
7. Warm the tortillas either on another skillet pan over medium heat, or you can microwave them for a few seconds to make them warm. If you microwave the tortillas make sure they are wrapped in a moist paper towel.
Serve and garnish the fajitas as you'd like.