I am a slave to spice. I live on Frank’s. Usually dinner is Frank’s with a side of whatever else we’re having. I literally put that **** on EVERYTHING. I also absolutely love Mexican food and Southwestern flavors – hence my obsession with Bobby Flay. And who doesn’t love sangria?
One of the simplest Mexican dishes to master is the fajita, and for drinks, there’s the Spanish sangria. That’s partly because there’s no real formula for either, save a few basic rules, and because anything wrapped in a warm tortilla or with wine and some hot sauce is – in my opinion – worth dying for.
3 chicken breasts*, boneless and skinless
2 bell peppers, red and/or yellow
1 large yellow onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. oregano, dried or fresh
1.5 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp. water
1 package raw tortilla dough (found in the refrigerated section) OR 1 package of 8″ round tortillas
2 gallon sized ziplock bags
And whatever else you like on your fajitas – sour cream, avocado, salsa, fresh cilantro etc.
*if you’re a vegetarian, substitute 6 portabello mushrooms and marinate everything together
Cut the chicken breasts/portabello mushrooms, onion, and peppers into thin strips and finely mince the garlic. Set aside.
Mix all the dry ingredients together, then place half of the mixture in one ziplock and half of the mixture in another. Add 2 Tbsp. of lime juice, 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. of water to each bag. Shake to mix. Add the chicken breasts to one bag and the veggies to another. If you don’t have any ziplock bags, you can certainly use a mixing bowl to marinate these ingredients together – a ziplock bag is my way of really sealing in flavor, almost like a vacuum sealer, without the price tag! Mix the chicken and spices all together in the bag, then seal while pressing all the air out. Let marinate at least 30 minutes. Do the same with the veggies.
There are two reasons I choose to keep veggies and chicken separate – one, I was living with a vegetarian at the time, and two, because the cooking times on the chicken and veggies are a little different. This way you can make sure you cook the chicken instead of steam/boil it in all the water that comes out when cooked together.
After about a half hour, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. When hot, add half the chicken and sautee until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Add the remaining chicken, cook through, and add to the warm plate. Finally, let your pan get up to temperature again and pour in the veggies all at once. Sautee about 5 minutes until cooked. Add the chicken back to the pan and heat through, about 3 minutes.
Set aside and serve with warm tortillas. I love these gems I found in the refrigerated section near the yogurt:
If you’re using these, heat a pan on medium high and cook on each side about 2 minutes. If you’re using store bought cooked tortillas, just wrap in a paper towel and microwave around 15 seconds. Serve with any mexican garnishes your heart desires – cilantro, avocado, sour cream, salsa, fresh lime squeezed over it… and don’t you dare forget the hot sauce. Buen provecho!
Hmmm, wine and and tortilla eats… why does that ring a bell… oh, that’s right. SANGRIA!!!
You knew it had to show up here eventually. Here’s my mom’s famous sangria recipe that she learned during her time living in Spain. Guaranteed to amuse your bouche.
Chill all of the following together, or serve over ice:
1 L. red table wine – chianti, merlot, whatever floats your boat
1 c. grand marnier (you can use brandy as well)
1 L. orange soda
1 L. lemon lime soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. sugar
various sliced fruits such as: orange, lemon
Mom’s Words of Authentic Spanish Wisdom: it’s meant mainly for citrus, and the star is the sangria – about 1 orange and 1 lemon should do it.
Pour the wine into your serving bowl (another mom’s word of wisdom: avoid metal if you can). Add the sodas, grand marnier/brandy, then spices. Stir in the sugar but make sure you have a few inches of space left… and be ready for a bit of foaming! Add the fruit last and let it soak up the goodness for at least 30 minutes. Guaranteed to cool you off and get you table dancing – if you’re not too fajitafull that is!