Kids supper time can, let’s face it, often feels like a bit of chore. Half term, however, can be a great opportunity to try something new with your kids. Introducing new flavours and ingredients can be done in a gentle, non-pressured way if you create a grazing table filled with colourful ingredients for kids to choose from and build their own plates.
These fajitas are a great get-ahead supper that feels really fun and celebratory and that can be enjoyed by the whole family. To upgrade this to a grown-up meal, just add a few sliced red chillies/chilli oil and maybe a few A Pint Of Hops beers!
When I serve food like this at home, I notice how empowering it is for my kids – they are more likely to try something new because it feels like their choice rather than something that’s been imposed on them… You can even take the kids shopping to choose ‘the most colourful’ ingredients with you, so it all feels a bit more familiar when it reaches the table.
Family Friendly Chicken Fajitas (feeds 4)
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (allow one per person which might leave you with a few welcome leftovers) 2 red peppers (optional, can be sautéed on the side)
- 1 onion (optional, can be sautéed on the side)
- Warmed flat breads for serving (wonderful ones can be found at Hakikat on Acton High St)
- 2tsp ground cumin (buy the best cumin from Rooted Spices in store)
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- 2tsp ground allspice
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 5/6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 2tbs maple syrup
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2tbs rapeseed oil
- Salt and pepper
Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl, taste and check that the seasoning and balance of flavours feels right – it should be warmly spiced, a little tart from the lemon but pleasingly sweet from the maple syrup. If you have small children then you might only want to use a little salt, but remember that salt equals flavour and the marinade will only be a very small part of the final dish, so don’t be too shy
Once you are happy, turn the chicken pieces in the marinade, making sure every piece is coated
If in a hurry, you can use the chicken straight away, but this is also a great make ahead dish if you marinade the chicken the day before – just cover it and pop it into the fridge for up to 24 hours (the more time marinading the better the flavour will be). You can also freeze the marinated chicken for up to three months – just defrost in the fridge the night before you want to use it, making sure it’s fully thawed before you get cooking
When you are ready to cook your fajitas, pull your accompaniments out of the fridge and make sure the table is set and kids primed to eat, as the chicken takes just minutes to cook!
Heat a heavy based frying pan with a little rapeseed oil over a medium/high heat
Shake off the marinade a little and quickly cook the chicken strips for just a few minutes (you may need to do this in batches), turning here and there till nicely golden brown and all traces of pink have gone – but not so long that the chicken becomes dry (stop and check regularly if you find it hard to judge)
Once all the chicken is cooked, allow it to rest for a minute while you caramelise any left over marinade in the pan till nicely golden and sticky
Off the heat, return the cooked chicken to the pan and turn it around to pick up the delicious sticky bits
Serve the chicken in the sizzling pan with lots of interesting looking and colourful bowls of accompaniments for everyone to help themselves to and build their own fajitas with. I make sure I put serving tongs and easy-to-use spoons in each so that the kids can serve themselves.
I often sautée red pepper and onions on the side and serve them separately but these can also be added to the marinate with the chicken and cooked simultaneously – depending on how much the kids mind everything all mixed up!
A few of my favourites to pop in separate bowls and serve alongside the fajitas are grated cheddar cheese (Neal’s Yard Pitchfork Cheddar is delicious), Greek-style yogurt, avocado smash (with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper), colourful baby salad leaves, lime wedges, fresh coriander, julienned strips of carrot or beetroot and sliced baby tomatoes.
You can even have a mild salsa like Xochitl on the side with some Manomasa Tortilla chips for dipping.
Cook Folk now offers adult and child friendly workshops suitable for the whole family to enjoy together. Take a look at the Private Workshops section of the website or contact Louisa direct to find out more: email@example.com