Jul

27

2009

We Like It Hot…Kinda

Comments 39 Comments

Chicken and Cotija Fajitas with Creamy Cilantro Refried Beans

Poultry & Pork • Tags: , , ,

Fajita fixins-Duo Dishes

Have you ever added spice to something with slight trepidation in your heart?  Gently shaking ground cayenne pepper on chicken cutlets or lightly tossing extra sriracha into a steaming wok of fried noodles, all the while afraid that the outcome may be too hot to handle.  We like kick in our food, but we have accidentally added a bit too much, and once it’s in there, it’s hard to cut.  Call us wimps if you like, but we just can’t handle it. We try to ride the line between spicy tingle and burnin’ ring ‘o fire mouth.  Although we both come from a line of folks who like to toss on those ‘kick your a$$ to high heaven’ or ‘not for wussy wimps’ hot sauces, we just haven’t been able to work our way up to sweating while we’re eating.  It’s not our style. We hit the kitchen with a desire for something that would ride the line without sitting too far on either side–not too bland and definitely not overwhelming.

We wanted fajitas.  Hot and spicy fajitas…just not too spicy!  We crunched a piece of jalapeno pepper to test how hot it is, which we totally recommend.  Some peppers are killers and some leave you wanting for more.  The ones we picked had a nice back end heat, so we felt comfortable using two.  Had it been one or two notches hotter, we may have opted for just a bit less.  Another way to balance heat is to up the ante on another side of the taste spectrum.  Sweet and sour work very well to cut spice!  The agave nectar and lime juice in this recipe really calm the potential intensity of the peppers and other spices.  The third way to cool heat is with milk fats.  Why do you think sour cream, coconut milk and yogurt get paired with or served alongside so many spicy, ethnic dishes?  We added a tiny bit of sour cream to our beans on the side to smooth them out and soothe the mouth.

Chicken cotija fajitas and cilantro beans-Duo Dishes

Chicken and Cotija Fajitas with Creamy Cilantro Refried Beans – Serves 4

Fajitas
1 pound chicken breast, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 1/4 cups cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
5 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 8-inch flour tortillas, warm
4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled

Beans
16 ounces fat free refried beans (These wereTrader Joe’s black bean and jalapeno version!)
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 2 limes
1/4 cup light sour cream
Kosher salt

1.    Combine chili powder, jalapenos, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, lime juice, agave nectar, grapeseed oil, red onion, bell peppers and cilantro in a very large bowl.  Add chicken, cover and marinate at least 2 hours or overnight.

2.    Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add marinated chicken and vegetables.  Cook until chicken juices run clear and veggies have softened slightly, approximately 5-7 minutes.

3.    Pour beans into a saucepan, break up slightly and turn heat to medium low.  Cook until beans are hot and small bubbles appear, approximately 5-7 minutes.  At the very end, stir in cilantro, lime juice, zest and sour cream until mixed.

4.    Serve chicken with tortillas and top with cotija cheese and refried beans on the side.

Click HERE for printable recipes.

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Comments

39 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. I’m Thai, so I say, bring on the heat. No trepidation here. The flavor combination you got going on here is fabulous.

    Reply

  2. Oh man, I always shake when I add pepper or pepper sauce to my food! I have a West Indian Pepper Sauce that will knock you on your feet if you use more than a drop or two. Seriously… nose burning, eyes watering, sweating, craziness. But I love it!

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  3. I love spicy… but oh how I’ve been there, eyes watering and nose running LOL

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  4. Yes, we have varying heat likes and dislikes in my house. With kids, the heat has to come on each individual dish. This sounds fantastic though!

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  5. I do too! The hotter the more delicious it become (for me).

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  6. I like spicy, just not so spicy that I can’t taste what I’m eating. Because really, that’s the point. Heh.

    Those fajitas look fantastic, but I’m still looking for cojita.

    Reply

  7. Love your Mexican platter.
    I used to be able to eat very spicy, not so much any more, so I like your approach.
    LL

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  8. I like spicy, but not all the time. I can wimp out sometimes, too. LOL. That’s why I got to have tons of sour cream, yogurt and what not on hand for those types of moments. haha…

    Delicious fajitas with the right amount of heat. Bring it.

    Reply

  9. This is what I could eat every day and never get tired of it. Your cilantro refried beans look delicious!

    Reply

  10. Great looking recipe — I could eat those beans by the bowlful. Totally know what you mean about the slightly scary spice (no, not her). I have gone way over the edge from time to time. The worst was when I made a chili that was sooo tasty, but sooo hot, that I just had to keep eating it. In the words of Homer Simpson: tastes like burning. Hurts so good.

    Reply

  11. “Cool” tips! (har har har) Really though, I had never thought about the reasoning behind the yogurt/sour cream accompaniment before. Makes complete sense since they always say to drink milk if you eat something too spicy. Thanks for all the info!

    Reply

  12. Loving the unique add ins here for fajitas, the agave nectar, your choice of cojita cheese, grapeseed oil.. this is what makes you guys the most specialest ever.

    Yes, I know its not a word but thought it sounded cute.

    Reply

  13. cotija:)

    Reply

  14. I’m bookmarking this recipe. This is exactly the flavors I’m looking for.

    You have an award on my blog.

    Reply

  15. Those Fajitas looks perfect with cold beer…

    Reply

  16. Oh yum! We sure do love mexican. And those beans look so good!

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  17. I’m with Leela — I love the spice! But bring on the sour cream. I’ve read that spicy food makes you lose weight because you eat less of it, but it’s not the case with me. The spicier my Mexican food, the more sour cream I eat. I like your use of agave nectar!

    Reply

  18. I am with you–love some spice but I must be able to taste my food so no “mouth on fire”. Your fajitas look great–love all the different flavors–Yum!

    Reply

  19. OOOOOH,…this is the sort of food I like to eat in this hot summer,…looks delectable!

    Reply

  20. I always add extra spice and but if it’s actually spicy for my husband, it may be a little too spicy for me so I’m always looking for ways to reduce the heat on my portion. The fajitas look awesome!

    Reply

  21. Sounds great. I always make it spicy, gotta make it authentic, right? I would substitute the chicken for soyrizo for my vegetarian hubby though. Looks delicious. I might make this for dinner tonight

    Reply

  22. I like it spicy but I can eat it even if it isnt….

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  23. I am the same way. I can handle some heat, and even sometimes a lot of heat, but I always ending up overdoing it and practically kill my guests and myself..lol That said, I love this recipe, and since I use them quite a bit because I’m a nut, and made some homemade powder using them for a fish dish I blogged about a few weeks ago, I’m going to add some Scotch Bonnet or Habanero to your recipe. If you don’t see me blog for a while, you know I combusted into flames ;O

    Having said all that, your fajitas look gorgeous and the photos are awesome as usual.

    Reply

  24. I like it spicy but I also want flavor too. These are loaded with delicious flavors. Love the cilantro beans.

    Reply

  25. I like my spice, that’s for sure! I love this recipe. The agave nectar is an added surprise! Sounds like a perfect amount of heat. Looks absolutely delicious.

    Reply

  26. I LOVE spice! I’m Korean, what can I say? But there were a few times I went overboard and all I could taste was the fire in my mouth and nothing else!

    Reply

  27. I like it spicy ! but my family likes it mild… I love this recipe .. tasty flavors.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe:)

    Have a wonderful Day ~~~

    Reply

  28. I like it spicy too, sometimes even very spicy! This recipe is perfect for adapting to ones own desire for heat. Love it! Good tip about testing the jalapenos before use … I do that as well.

    Reply

  29. Looks great and good call testing the peppers first. I usually like using serrano chiles because they tend to be a little more consistent than jalapenos (which can run the gamut from mini bell pepper to habanero hot).

    Reply

  30. Um, can I please just lick that plate? I’m serious. I have no shame. It looks delicious!!

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  31. When I first met my now husband, I told him I liked spicy things, and he tried to find THE spiciest everything – including habanero microwave popcorn!

    I finally got him to realize that I like FLAVORFUL hot – while I like the heat, I still want to feel my tongue!

    Reply

  32. oh my, you got me right in the tummy, this looks fantastic!

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  33. Man, I am planning to make some fajitas tonight and now I want to make these instead. They sound great!

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  34. I don’t know, I’m all about lots of heat, especially the delayed kind. I wanna be able to taste the food first and feel the heat afterwards.

    Reply

  35. I’m with you on the heat thing – while I might occasionally sweat over a hot stove, I’m not so much into sweating when I’m eating the results! Don’t think I’d have any problems with these fajitas, though :)

    Reply

  36. wow..this looks great! I would absolutely love this dish! Very flavorful!

    Reply

  37. I understand, I like spicy, but I can only take so much. In Sri Lanka the food was amazing and spicy, but they had to bring a box of tissues out with every meal for me because my nose wouldn’t stop running!

    Reply

  38. vat great combo.. m gonna make it moorreee spicyyyy.. yummmmm!!!

    Reply

  39. I love my food spicy =) Great flavours!

    Reply

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