Jalapeño-Marinated Chicken Kabobs
I started out by naming this recipe Chicken Fajita Kabobs, but decided that sometimes it can get confusing to people who are not familiar with the authentic recipe for fajitas. When one is not familiar with popular recipes and then you see a kakob described as fajitas, it can be misleading. I will say that the marinade I prepared is one I often use for beef or chicken fajitas and they are typically char grilled. For today’s recipe I prepared a savory chicken kabob that starts and finishes in the same pan. When deciding what kind of pots or pans to purchase, it’s always a good idea to buy the ones that are oven safe. I start by searing the marinated meat in a very hot pan, add aromatics and finish it in the oven for a few minutes. One of the other good ideas I use in this recipe is the use of the pickled jalapeño brine. Most times it is discarded after you use up the jalapeños, but it’s great for marinades, dressings or just to add a little more zesty flavor to soups, chilis and stews.
Yields 4 servings
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs (12 equal pieces)
1/3 cup sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 large pickled jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (I prefer La Costeña or Embasa brand of jalapeños for their flavor)
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili ancho powder
Zest and juice of two limes
1/2 cup of brine liquid from jalapeños
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for cooking
Salt to taste
Tips~ Often leftover marinade is discarded, but I like to cook mine down and drizzle it over the meat and vegetables right before serving for extra moisture, especially when using chicken breast meat. It tends to dry out if you overcook it.
You Will Also Need:
1 small green bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
1 small orange bell pepper
1 small red onion
*Slice the peppers and onions into equal-size strips
1 to 2 jalapeño or Fresno peppers, sliced into rings
Tips~ Typically served with fajitas, grilled peppers and onions can be served on the side or worked into the kabob. I like them separate so I can control how far to cook them so they are still slightly crisp.
1. Transfer the chicken to a heavy plastic storage bag, set aside. In a bowl combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Whisk to combine and taste for salt. Pour all of the marinade into the bag with chicken. Seal and marinate for 2 to 4 hours. I would not suggest marinating this any longer because the citrus and brine will break down the chicken too much and can become too dry or chalky when cooked. Chicken thigh meat is more forgiving when it comes to marinades.
2. Remove chicken from marinade 40 minutes before cooking time. Transfer leftover marinade to a small sauce pan and heat to low/medium. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
3. Using 4 wooden or metal skewers add 3 pieces of chicken per skewer. Make sure that all your skewers fit lengthwise in the pan before adding the chicken. In a large oven-proof skillet, preheat 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium/high heat for 5 minutes.
4. Sear the chicken for 4 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Add and arrange all the sliced sweet peppers, hot peppers and red onion around the skewers. Drizzle the vegetables with some of the marinade that has been cooked. Transfer whole pan to the oven and continue cooking for 10 to 12 minutes. As soon as pan comes out of oven, drizzle more of the cooked marinade over the chicken, cover with lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite steamed rice recipe, vegetables from pan, salsa, guacamole and warn corn tortillas.
Tips~ I like to keep assorted sizes of wooden skewers on hand that could fit in assorted size pans in my kitchen.
This was the next day of leftovers. Reheat the chicken in a really hot pan with a little oil to caramelize the outside and add more flavor. Leftovers never tasted so good!