I have literally been tweaking this marinade for years. A bit more heat; a dash more salt...maybe a splash of citrus? I finally stumbled on the finished product several years ago, during a family reunion.
That beautiful summer evening, my husband and I were put in charge of feeding a crowd of 12 adults (and way too many kids to count - we're a big family!). After a quick brainstorming session, we hit on the perfect menu: An appetizer of fresh Salsa & Guacamole with chips, a vat - truthfully! - of Vodka Mojitos (by this time of day all the parents needed one or two!), and some strawberry shortcake for dessert. The main course were these deliciously marinaded grilled Chicken & Steak Fajitas!
My Fajita Spice Marinade was like a crazy science experiment (partially fueled by having sampled the mojitos!). Orange and lime juices are mixed with a spicy, salty, blend. We marinated butterflied chicken breasts & skirt steak overnight in this awesome spice mix, and then grilled them up with superb flavor results. A bit spicy, a bit sweet, and with a hint of acidity, this marinade imbued a delicious flavor into the proteins. Serve with a side of lightly seasoned sautéed onions & peppers (along with some fresh salsa & guacamole) and you have a meal fit for any crowd!
Fajita Spice Marinade
makes about a 1 1/2 cups of marinade
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup orange juice
handful of fresh cilantro, washed & dried
In a large mixing bowl combine the spices and liquids. Whisk briskly to combine. Add the fresh cilantro and stir gently.
Grilled Chicken Fajitas
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts (or enough to serve your crowd)
2 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
2 purple onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
tomatoes/salsa/guacamole or toppings of your choosing
Prepare the Fajita Spice Marinade in a large bowl. Put aside.
Butterfly the chicken breasts (you can also use skirt steak or a combination of the two) and poke with a fork several times (this allows the marinade to seep in).
Place the proteins into the marinade and stir to completely cover. Marinate 1 hour at room temperature, or longer in the refrigerator. An overnight marinade in the fridge is best.
30-60 minutes before grilling, place the marinating chicken bowl on the counter to come to room temperature.
Once at temp, grill the chicken until cooked through. Once your proteins are cooked, allow them to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Slice on a bias and place on a serving plate. While the proteins are cooking, prepare your onions and peppers.
Wash, dry, and slice your veggies and place into a bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a large pinch of salt & ground pepper. Toss to coat.
In an extremely hot sauté pan on the stove top or grill, quickly sauté the vegetables just until slightly softened. Remove from the heat and place onto a serving bowl.
We like to have fresh salsa & guacamole available as well as diced tomato and hot Thai chilies (or jalapeños, whichever spice level you prefer) for an extra "kick"!