We decided to give the ceramic coated wok insert a try on the grill this week, and cook up some chicken fajitas!
Tender chicken breast, a chipotle lime marinade and a medley of colorful bell peppers come together to create an easy healthy meal that can be eaten straight out of a bowl, rolled into tortillas with cheese, served over a bed of crisp delicious leafy greens garnished with sour cream and salsa or guacamole—the possibilities are endless!
This particular batch was the hit of the potluck, and that was great. However, that also meant no leftovers! Oh, well, we just made some more…
For a classic marinade, we used key lime juice, some salt, and a good quality chipotle seasoning.
When choosing your chicken breast, you want a breast that is springy and moist and has very few light colored lines. If you see chicken breast with a series of light colored lines running with the grain of the meat, this is a condition called “woody breast”. While it is NOT dangerous to humans, the more lines, the woodier and less flavorful the meat will be. So look for chicken breasts that are a soft medium pink with a good consistent texture.
This dish is also amazing with chicken thigh meat, though more preparation is needed unless you get boneless thighs. Mixing breast and thigh meat provides the fullest range of flavor.
Cut your chicken breast in thin strips with the grain of the meat, then cut the strips to the desired length. For presentation and the most efficient tortilla stuffing, it’s a good idea to get the meat about the same width and length as the peppers, which are generally cut in thin strips lengthwise.
Rinse the cut chicken and load into a 1 gallon Ziploc style bag, and insure the chicken when spread out will be covered by the lime juice.
We have found that 2 cups of lime juice is generally good for marinating 1 pound of chicken meat. For added flavor complexity, toss in a small amount of orange or lemon juice as well, or both. Mix ingredients well in the bag, and squeeze out excess air before sealing. If possible spread meat out flat in the bag, such that all meat is covered with marinade.
Marinate for 4 to 8 hours. For an added flavor punch you can also marinate the onions, in a separate bag.
Preheat your grill to around 275 degrees, with the wok insert in place and lightly coated with an oil or spray with a high smoke point for ease of cleaning. Or, when you remove the meat from the marinade, you can toss lightly in oil with extra spices.
Add chicken to the wok insert first, and lightly sear on all sides. Turn heat down slightly and close the lid, checking and turning the meat after 2 or 3 minutes, then add the vegetables.
At this point I often will have a spray bottle of water or lemon juice and spices to lightly spray the fajitas each time I turn.
Keep lid closed between turnings, and turn about every 3 minutes. The fajitas should be done in 9 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken. When done, you can move your wok insert to a top rack, turn the heat to low and spray with liquid before closing the grill to keep warm if needed.
Shown are mini fajitas in tortillas with sharp cheddar cheese, typically garnished with guacamole, beans and rice for a full meal. This recipe will make 8 mini fajitas.
Other options include loaded burritos with the fajita mix, beans, rice in a large tortilla. This recipe makes four overstuffed burritos with the addition of 1 can of refried beans and 4 cups of Mexican style rice, chicken flavored rice or white rice.
Using either large taco shell bowls or large soup bowls, build a bed of flavorful leafy greens, top with one quarter of the fajitas. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa and various dressings on the side. Greens that work well with this include baby spinach, mixed spring greens, shredded white and red cabbage.
Using a 9x9 casserole dish, layer the bottom with crushed corn chips. Then, 1 can of refried beans, the fajitas mix spread evenly, and rice of choice to cover. Top with a medium or sharp cheddar lightly sprinkled with chipotle powder and bake in 350 degree oven or on the top rack of your grill with cover closed until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Top with guacamole or sour cream, or both.
Nutrition as pictured for 1 mini fajita, made with a low carb tortilla and 1 ounce cheddar cheese:
We were very pleased with the overall quality and the performance of this wok insert, and the ease of cleaning!
It cleaned up very well in a standard kitchen sink with almost no scrubbing, both when coated lightly with oil and also when used dry. We look forward to using it for further grilling in the future, and highly recommend you consider picking one up here.
Enjoy your fajitas, and for a change, try making this dish with shrimp or beef as well. Keep chillin’ and grillin’!