July 28, 2008

Jen's Steak Fajitas

I am a sucker for fajitas. I love them. I love them at home. I love them at restaurants. I love to hear them sizzle. I love their smell. Do you understand? I LOVE fajitas. It does not matter if they are chicken, steak, shrimp, or veggie...I love them all, equally. Ahhhh....fajitas. Whenever I eat fajitas, I totally overindulge and then complain I ate way too much all night long. That is the beauty of fajitas...they just keep on giving, long after the meal is over.

I do not have a set recipe for fajitas. This is really just a process or method, not a set recipe. I typically concoct a spicy marinade for the meat, grill it, then saute some onions and peppers separately. I think I will go through my pantry and fridge to see what I can throw into the marinade mix. It is always slightly different, based on what I have in my stores. I am not going to give you measurements at all today...I just use a splash of this, and a pinch or a shake of that. Adjust and use whatever you like. I will say that I am heavy-handed with the spices, so the meat flavor comes out very robust. I have never ruined a marinade, so I think my strategy works very well.

When I do make them at home I generally stick with using steak as the protein. Specifically, flank steak or skirt steak. These are cheap and flavorful cuts of meat that respond well to the grill. Tonight, I will serve either refried or black beans as a side dish, and some sort of vegetable. Usually, I make a green salad, but I do not have any salad items on hand. I think I will go with glazed carrots instead.

Finally, fajitas are not complete without tortillas. I use either whole wheat or flour for this application. I set up all the ingredients buffet-style and let everyone fix their own plate.

Jen's Steak Fajitas

For marinade:
Combine the following ingredients with steak in a 1 gallon plastic storage bag and marinate in the refrigerator for minimum 1 hour. I try to marinate mine for 4 hours, turning every 1/2 hour. Discard marinade/bag when finished.

Olive or Canola Oil
Red wine vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Steak sauce (A1 or Heinz 57...or both)
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
1-2 chipotle peppers, with some adobo sauce
garlic powder
onion powder
ancho chile powder
cayenne pepper
lime juice
fresh cilantro
dried oregano

For fajita veggies:
Below, I have listed some of my favorite accompaniments to go with the meat. Use what you like, and let me know if you find anything different that is tasty & unusual. I tend to use the basics. I always cook the veggies until soft and slightly caramelized.
On the occasion that I use bacon; I cook that first, until crisp and all the bacon fat is rendered out. Then, I take the bacon out and set it aside, leave the dripping in the pan and saute the veggies in the bacon fat. Healthy? No. Tasty? Yes! When everything is cooked, I unite the bacon with the veggies back in the pan. Yum.

peppers (green, red, yellow, or a combo)
green chiles
bacon (sometimes)

Grill meat to desired doneness over medium high grill. We like medium rare meat, so we do approximately 4 minutes on each side (sometimes time varies more or less depending on how hot the grill is and how thick the meat is). Once meat is off the grill, let rest for minimum 10 minutes before slicing. This will allow meat juices to redistribute. Always slice against the grain of the meat.

In a separate skillet, drizzle a little olive or canola oil in pan (approximately 1-2 tablespoons) and saute veggies.

Build fajita tacos with meat and veggies. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and/or guacamole.

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