When we were in Costa Rica about a year and a half ago, we spent a few nights in a rather nice little condo on the road that winds between Quepos and the Manuel Antonio Park. When we got bored waiting for the bus to come, we would decide to hike down to the park and watch the monkeys playing in the trees around us and stop at the beach for a few minutes.
Along the way, we passed a rather unique restaurant built around an old, empty cargo plane, and with a beach view, on our way to the park, and we decided to make that our night out dinner spot. And with the sounds of the ocean and salsa music in the background, my concept of fajitas was rocked.
For low and behold, there in the chicken, peppers, and onions were hiding little fabulous bits of bacon, and and it changed everything. But it wasn’t just the pieces of bacon throughout that changed the flavor, but everything had been cooked in bacon grease so that the flavor was everywhere.
Searing is my new favorite way to cook chicken, and using the bacon grease makes the flavors all get married and give your mouth a really happy day. If you have any extra grease? Toss it with the onions and peppers, and take it all to the next level.
This may not be traditional Costa Rica, but it’s the Costa Rica that I tasted and that left an unforgettable impression. Now if only I could import the jungle, beach, and monkeys to complete the atmosphere.
Chicken Bacon Fajitas
- 6-8 slices of bacon
- 3 large whole chicken breast halves
- Fajita seasonings (salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, etc.)
- 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1 purple and 1 white onion, sliced thin
- Tortillas, flour or corn
- Toppings: cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, and anything else you can think of
Cook the bacon slices in a large skillet over medium heat until done, and reserve the bacon grease. Wipe out any residue from the bacon.
Butterfly the chicken breasts open or pound until about half of original thickness. Sprinkle both sides with seasonings to taste. This is largely a matter of personal taste, but I like to have a nice, thick layer of spices so that not much chicken is visible underneath.
Return the bacon grease to the skillet and heat over medium/high heat until very hot, and place as many pieces of chicken as will fit. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes and flip. Cook second side for another 4-5 minutes, or until internal temperature measures 160 degrees. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Clean out the skillet again and saute the onions and peppers in olive oil until tender and browned. Cut up bacon into small pieces and stir into cooked peppers and onions.
Slice chicken and serve over a bed of peppers and onions. Serve with warmed tortillas and toppings.