Growing up 'fajitas' (or fa-ji-tas as my friends mother so aptly put it) were a result of McCormic seasoning packets or dining at Chili's. They were made of Tyson Chicken, placed on flour tortilla shells with iceberg lettuce, sour cream, generic salsa, and mounds of jack cheese on top; and they were f-ing delicious, I can't lie. If you grew up in a) the 90's or b) the MidWest you know what I am talking about. Also, let's be honest, did fajitas come any other way back then? I think not.
Box to table was normal, pouch to pallet more than acceptable, and we, sadly, didn't know any better. The Farm to table movement was still on the coasts and/or left to the hippies and hillbillies (my how naive we all were!).
I think part of the reason I love cooking, part of the reason I work on these recipes, is to remedy the gut busting blunders of my youth. I must try and make amends to my organs for all of the $5 Hot n' Ready pizzas, frozen chimichangas, cheese covered ramen, and 2,000 calorie mochas which tormented (nay still torment) my insides.
Please note-this is not to say my mom wasn't a good cook, she was amazing, and she DID make things from SCRATCH (p.s. I love that term, it always makes me think of biscuits or whip cream... mmmmm)... but the majority of my diet was incredibly processed (we didn't know any better you guys... it was the 90's!).
-NOT YOUR MAMAS FAJITAS-
1.5 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp adobo seasoning (optional)
juice from 2.5 small limes
5-6 cloves garlic freshly chopped
1 tbsp Tapatio (or hot sauce of choice)
1/2 an organic chicken (preferably a happy chicken...one who lived a better life than any of us could ever dream to) you can opt for 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts if you would prefer, I like bone in with skin for more flavor.
1 tbsp olive oil
Combine all of your dry ingredients into a small bowl and stir well to combine. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the chicken and pour your hot sauce of choice on top as well. Rub the dry seasoning over top, making sure it sticks nicely to the chicken skin, sprinkle with garlic and cover with saran wrap.
Allow chicken to marinade for at least 3 hours, all day or overnight is best (obvi).
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees ferinheight.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet, remove chicken from the bowl (set marinade aside) and place into the hot oil skin side down to start, allowing the skin to become brown and crispy, flip and allow the underside to brown slightly. Add 1/4 cup water to the remaining marinade and pour into the pan surrounding the chicken. Place the cast iron into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and allow the chicken to rest for 5-7 minutes.
While the chicken is baking get all of your tasty toppings prepped, because one can never have enough toppings am I right!? (that is rhetorical, I know I'm right).
Garlic, cumin and lime cooked black beans
and of course sautéed peppers and onions
Once you have all of your toppings prepped and the chicken has taken its rest and then unceremoniously had its meat removed from the bone, build your oh so satisfying, pallet pleasing, NEVER FROM A PACKET fajitas and enjoy.
P.s.- if you haven't seen Chef, do so! A feel good film that was a complete and total passion project which will leave you warm and fuzzy (not to mention starving!). This recipe was inspired by the amazing cooking scenes in the film- food porn at its finest you guys!
P.P.S- The chicken is also amazing grilled and/or remove the chicken from the equation entirely and make this dish with steak!