Shrimp & Chicken Fajitas

I had really hoped to make this dish on the Big Green Egg using a cast iron griddle, but the weather just wouldn’t cooperate. I ended up cooking it on the griddle (highly recommended) on the stove top (not so highly recommended).

It looks like there are a lot of moving pieces here, but if you are organized you can put this on the table in about an hour and a half.

The Chicken
4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce

Put the garlic cloves and salt in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the lime juice, pepper, cumin, chili powder, soy sauce, olive oil, and hot sauce and give everything a whirl until it is well-combined.

Pour half of the marinade over the chicken, toss to coat, and stash in the fridge for at least an hour, but not longer than 4 hours. Reserve the other half of the marinade in the fridge for later.

The Shrimp
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon achiote oil
1 tablespoon Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce

Pour the  oil and hot sauce over the shrimp and toss to coat. Stash in the fridge while you prep the veggies.

The Veggies
3 large bell peppers (assorted colors are pretty) cut into strips
1 medium onion, chopped
3 gloves garlic, crushed and chopped
3 scallions, roughly chopped

The veggies will pick up plenty of flavor from the griddle, so I didn’t season them at all.

The Cook
Think of the griddle as a flat wok – you want to get it hot and move the food on and off it quickly. So have all of your ingredients, and a large (pre-warmed if possible) serving platter arranged in front of you before you start.

Center the griddle over your largest/hottest burner on the stove (or across 2 burners if you have a large rectangular griddle) and heat over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.

Swirl a couple of glugs of peanut oil on the griddle and let heat until it starts to shimmer (about 2 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange it on the griddle.

Let the chicken sear for about 2 minutes and then flip it over and let it cook for another minute or so until done (I like using a set of tongs for this).

Remove the chicken to the platter and put the veggies on the griddle. Cook these until they soften and start to char a bit, about 5 minutes (or until your smoke alarm goes off like ours did). Pour just a couple of tablespoons of water on the griddle to de-glaze it and steam the veggies a bit. Use a spatula here to scrape up the brown bits and work them into the veggies.

Remove the veggies to the platter and add the shrimp to the griddle. Cook these just until they turn pink and start to curl (about a minute), flip and cook the other side for another minute.

Remove the shrimp to the platter and drizzle the whole thing with the reserved marinade. Serve with warm tortillas and guacamole.

Lean meat and tons of veggies, what’s not to love? Just watch how many glugs of oil you use and go light on the tortillas and guac. Makes 6 (1 1/2 cup) servings. 270 calories. 6 Weight Watchers points.

The Verdict: ★★★★½
An outstanding weeknight dish. The griddle gave everything a nice char and the Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce added a little heat with a lot of slightly sweet smokiness. Th achiote oil was subtle, but it added a richness that helped round out all the flavors.

While the griddle did its smoky/searing job, it was a little too much for the vent fan in the kitchen. Between the smoke and the splatter, this would have worked at lot better outside on the grill.

Best Freakin’ Posole Ever!

I usually make this hearty Mexican stew after Thanksgiving when I can use the turkey carcass for meat and stock. But since the nice folks at Cholula sent me some of their new Chili Garlic Hot Sauce to try out, I couldn’t think of a dish I’d rather put it in.

Since this recipe takes a little while to make, I doubled it up to make a great Sunday dinner plus leftovers for my lunches the rest of the week. It also freezes up really well.

2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs
8 ounces Mexican chorizo
4 cups chicken stock
2 (20-ounce) cans hominy (Juanita’s if you can get it), drained
2 (4-ounce) cans green chilies
1-2  jalapeños, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 red or green bell peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 tablespoon medium chili powder
1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 -2 tablespoons Cholula Chili Garlic Hot Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, crumble the chorizo and brown it over medium-high heat. Drain off as much of the fat as your conscience tells you to. Add the bell peppers, chilies, jalapeños, garlic, and onions and cook until the onions are soft, about five minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Add the chicken stock, chili powder, cumin, and cilantro and bring to a simmer on the stove top for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chicken thighs, nestling them into the sauce so they are mostly covered.

Put the lid on the Dutch oven and move it to the middle rack in the oven. Let cook for 2 hours, checking at the 1 hour make to make sure the stew isn’t drying out. Add more stock or water if needed.

Remove the Dutch oven to the stove top. Give the dish a stir – the thighs should just fall apart. Turn the stove burner up to medium-high and add the hominy. Let it come to a simmer and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Serve with corn chips, a squeeze of lime, and a sprinkling of cojita cheese

Makes 6 (1 1/2 cup) servings. 446 calories. 11 Weight Watcher points, so not exactly a low-calorie dish, but you could easily bump up the veggies and the amount of broth.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
The title says it all – the chorizo, the fall-apart thighs, and the heat and complexity of the sauce made this a delicious stew. I may very well make this with turkey again, but I’ll never make it again without chorizo.

The Cholula Chili Garlic Hot Sauce was made for recipes like this. It added a lot of clean, rich garlic taste with some nice warmth. I don’t think it’s quite as hot as their original sauce, but I liked the combination of peppers and garlic.

Ceviche de Camaron con Cholula

The fine folks over at Cholula Hot Sauce were nice enough to send me a 4-pack of their sauces to try out. I’ve been a big fan of their original sauce for years. It doesn’t have much heat or vinegar, but it’s got a solid chili taste that works great on almost any Mexican dish.

There are now 3 new flavors of Cholula – Chili Garlic, Chili Lime, and Chipotle. Of the three, the Chili Lime caught my attention first. I thought it would be a great addition to my Shimp Ceviche recipe.

1 pound cooked medium (41-50) shrimp, shelled and deveined (get the freshest you can find)
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup cocktail sauce (Trader Joe’s in this case, but any sauce with some horseradish in it will work fine)
2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2-3 tablespoons Cholula chili Lime hot sauce
16 – 24 pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 avocado, sliced the long way

In a large, non-reactive bowl, combine the shrimp, salt, and lime juice. Let this sit for about 5 minutes. Add the onion, cilantro, cocktail sauce, jalapeños, oil, Worcestershire, horseradish, hot sauce, and olives. Mix well and let sit in the fridge for about an hour so the flavors all get to know each other.

Arrange the avocado strips into a little nest on a small plate or bowl. Mound the ceviche in the center of the strips.  Serve with lime wedges, more hot sauce, and tortilla chips or (strangely, but traditional) saltine crackers.

The Verdict: ★★★★½
This dish just screams sand and surf. I really liked the addition of the last little tomatoes from our garden. They are so perfectly ripe and intense that they are just little flavor bombs.

The Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce really shines here – the base chili flavor isn’t too hot (more flavor than fire) and the zip of the lime brings out the freshness and sweetness of the shrimp. I think it’d be great with almost any seafood.

Next time I’d use a different size shrimp. I’d either go large/jumbo so you could pluck the shrimp out with a fork and scoop the remaining sauce up with a chip, or use little cocktail shrimp so you could just scoop the the whole works up.

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