chicken fajitas

You know how the best part of the muffin is the top? Well, the best part of the chicken… is the thigh.

The thigh is so much more forgiving than the breast. When I cook chicken breasts, I invariably overcook them to a dry mess. The timing needs be perfect for a chicken breast, and I completely lack timing. I’m frequently watching reruns of Glee while I cook, so my chicken sometimes gets an extra moment or two while I watch the latest duet. Baking, frying, sautéeing, poaching, whatever. I overcook chicken breasts. It’s my secret shame.

But the thighs are so good to me. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are cheap, easy to cook, and go with everything. I’ve adapted so many chicken breast recipes for thighs, and they are always so much tastier than the breast version. The thigh is juicier, more tender, and easier to cook. Searing it develops that crisp exterior skin that’s so satisfying, and it’s worth the extra few calories for something so delicious.

So I got to thinking: why not make fajitas with chicken thighs? Wouldn’t that be tastier? I love fajitas and order them at any restaurant that serves them, but when I make them at home, I’m always disappointed with the chicken breast. What would happen if I used the extra-special, easy-to-cook thighs?

I was so right.

So here’s the rub: The store sells bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Stores also sell boneless, skinless chicken thighs. What you want is boneless, skin-on chicken thighs. Keeping the skin adds that extra moisture and forgiveness in the cooking, and boning the thighs makes slicing the chicken for the fajitas a cinch. So you have some choices: You can use the skinless chicken thighs and take your chances. You can cook the bone-in thighs and shred the chicken off the bone once it’s cooked. Or you can make your other half bone the chicken thighs for you! (Guess which option I recommend?)

Chicken Fajitas
Serves 2, with some leftovers
Note: This recipe was made in a skillet on the stovetop, to excellent results, but feel free to follow the same recipe on a grill. I’m sure it would be lovely.

You will need:
3 boned, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 tbsp. soy sauce, divided
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, divided
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. chili powder
1 onion, sliced thin
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used half a green bell and half an orange bell)
Salt and pepper
Flour tortillas

Pico de gallo
Avocado slices
Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream
Fresh cilantro

Trim the chicken of any excess skin.

Combine 1 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for about half an hour.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook about 5 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown. Flip and cook another 5 minutes. Cover, lower heat to medium, and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper and toss with rest of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove to a plate for serving, and tent with foil to keep warm.

Remove chicken from heat and slice into strips. Warm tortillas in the oven. Serve chicken, vegetables, and toppings with flour tortillas. Assemble and serve.


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