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P is for Puerto Vallarta & Pineapple Chicken Fajitas

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Back in 2006, we had the opportunity to explore the state of Jalisco in Mexico. Jalisco is the western most state adjoining the Pacific Ocean. It is known for agave, tequila, and mariachi bands. We landed in Guadalajara after the Christmas holidays but the decorations were still adorning the beautiful landmarks within the city. We toured the city, artwork, and then went out and about the state.

We left the iconic city and traveled west to a famous town known by many as Tequila, Mexico. We had one of the most fascinating tours of a distillery that I have ever been on. We were able to see the agave production in the field. This in turn leads into what they call harvesting the pineapple. Now, it is not a real pineapple but the bulb of the agave plant. The sharp spade creates the appearance of the “pineapple”. We then saw the workers harvesting the “pineapples”, loading them into trucks, and then to delivering them to Jose Cuervo. We learned about 1800 Anejo and the aging process of tequila. Now, I am not a huge fan of tequila but it was so fascinating to learn and try the raw product, 6 months, and over a year old tequila. The coolest aspect was learning that the charred bourbon barrels from the bluegrass state (Kentucky – home to bourbon) were shipped to Tequila for the aging process. After bourbon has been aged, they no longer can reuse the barrels. They then re-char them and send them south to age tequila. How cool is it that white oak harvested in Kentucky, used to make wonderful bourbon, then is reused to age tequila – truly a reduce, reuse, and recycle concept.

We naturally sang a few songs about friends of mine and a little salt and lime. If you have the chance to tour Jose Cuervo, please add it to your must see list. It was a complete experience from the farm to the glass. We left Tequila (again, that would be a good country music song – ha) and headed further west driving toward the Pacific. As we traveled the winding roads around the Sierra Madre Mountains, we had glimpses of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. We stopped along the way at a village town to eat. We had one of the best fajitas that I have ever had. The key was how they cooked the food – over an open fire and a piece of rebar. Now, I love the open flame cooking but I am typically fresh out of rebar at our house. The authentic experience overlooking the Pacific was truly memorable. We were only in the entire country for 8 days total and then in Puerto Vallarta for two nights. I wish we could have had a little bit more time to explore this city and to unwind and relax. However, we typically are a non-stop go, go, go family. To this day even after all this time, we still talk about the rebar food, corn tortillas, tequila and the hospitality of this amazing state. If you are thinking of a trip to Mexico – look at the state of Jalisco. Guadalajara is a beautiful Spanish colonial town, Tequila adds a little salt and flair, and Puerto Vallarta is a great beach town to enjoy the waves and awesome food from the Pacific.

Pineapple Chicken Fajitas

4 Boneless, skinless Chicken thighs

1 Pineapple – sliced

1 medium red onion – sliced

1 cup of Bell Peppers – sliced (I love the trio of red, orange, and yellow)

2 Tablespoons of Cilantro (fresh)

1 Tbsp of Cumin

1 Tbsp of Chili Powder

1 Tbsp of Garlic Powder

1 tsp of Oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Tbsp of oil

With A cast iron skillet, add your oil and let the pan get hot. Throw in your diced chicken and cook. Once it starts to cook, I take all of my seasonings except cilantro, take these and add them to the chicken – chili powder, cumin, garlic and oregano. Once cooked, I remove and add the onions, followed by the pineapple and last the peppers. Once they have been in the skillet on medium high heat for a few minutes bring back the chicken and add the cilantro.

We warmed corn tortillas with this dish but you can make this into a fajita salad, nachos, or whatever your stomach desires. You could easily substitute shrimp instead of chicken. Just cook your veggies, seasonings first then the last 3-5 minutes add your thawed shrimp and cilantro. I hope you all enjoy and add a bit of pineapple to your next dish.

Adios Amigos

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