Papa's Pepper Fajita Salad

Papa's Pepper Fajita Salad

(Courtesy of Spencer from @spencerthecook from Instagram ... )

Healthy food doesn't mean bland food!  That's the inspiration behind this fajita salad.  It's a spicy, savory, sour and sweet balance of flavors that is not only delicious, but healthy!  If you need some carbs, add the tortillas and devour these wonderful flavors the traditional way.  Regardless of which way you eat it I'm sure you will agree, it's packed with flavors and textures!

4 Chicken breast cut into very thin strips
4 Bell peppers, julienned
2 White onions, Lyonnaise cut
3T Tomato paste
1/4C Water
3T Chili powder
1T Cumin
1T Smoked paprika
1T Coarse Kosher salt
1T Cornstarch
1t Onion powder
1t Granulated garlic
1/2t Ground coriander
2t Papa's Pepper premium spice blend

For Pico de Gallo:
6 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
3 Jalapeno peppers, tops removed
1 White onion, quartered
3 Cloves garlic, peeled
3/4C Cilantro leaves, loosely packed
2T Fresh lime juice
1T Kosher salt

For serving:
Cotija cheese, Cheddar Cheese, shredded lettuce (chilled), sour cream, lime wedges, warm tortillas

For Chicken:

1. Mix all spices together in a small mixing bowl.  Add chicken to a one gallon resealable plastic bag, then add chicken to bag, seal and shake well to coat chicken.  Place bag of chicken in refrigerator to marinate while you prep the vegetables.

For the Pico de Gallo:

1. Add jalapenos, onion, garlic, cilantro, salt and lime juice to food processor.  Pulse food processor until everything is finely chopped.  Empty contents of food processor into mixing bowl, add finely diced tomatoes, mix together to incorporate everything.  Place in refrigerator to let flavors meld.

To cook:

1. Add a couple tablespoons of canola oil to a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  One minute after oil starts to smoke add chicken to skillet and spread it out to cover the entire skillet.  Sear chicken for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and then turn pieces over.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes until chicken is just done and has an internal temperature of 164°.  Do not over cook.

2.  Remove chicken from skillet.  Add water and scrape all the delicious little bits from skillet.  Add Bell peppers, Lyonnaise cut onions and tomato paste.  Cook vegetables for 3-4 minutes until just cooked but still firm.

To assemble:
1. Make a "nest" of the shredded lettuce on a plate.  If using a tortilla place tortilla on plate.

2. Add pepper/onion mixture on top of lettuce or tortilla.

3. Add chicken on top of peppers.

4. Add a generous serving of Pico de Gallo

5. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and cheddar cheese if using.

6. Top with sour cream, if using, and serve with two lime wedges.

Cooks note:

If using tortillas warm them up for 2-3 minutes per side in a pan/skillet over medium heat.

Julienned means cut into thin strips.

A Lyonnaise cut is to cut an onion from top to root end in a counter clockwise manner slicing about every 1/4" from the 3 o'clock position up to the 12 o'clock position.  This type of cut makes very uniformed cuts so that the onion cuts all cook at the same speed.