Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fajitas - Homesick Texan

Skirt Steak (and Chicken) Fajitas - Homesick Texan

I remember fajitas arriving on the scene in the late 80's or early 90's and coming out on sizzling platters at Mexican restaurants.

I don't remember them growing up in Texas.

In Mexico, the closest thing I ever had to them was in Monterrey, in Northern Mexico on the Texas border.  There they served little tacos with thin strips of steak and guacamole.  Simple and delicious!

So, I looked in all of my Mexican cookbooks and indeed could not find them.

Then I found a great article from the The Austin Chronicle on fajita history.  They say that they originated in Texas. You can read the full story here.
http://www.austinchronicle.com/food/2005-03-04/261130/

Tom loves fajitas so they are in his rotation of meals he likes to cook.

He makes his own version of Fajitas using El Paso seasoning plus lime and tequila. Also, he posted this recipe from Cooking Light: Tequila Flank Steak Fajitas.  And yet another of his concoctions, he posted Far-jitos.

With fajitas, I think it is all about the marinade.  I found this delicious one in the Homesick Texan's Family Table cookbook by Lisa Fain.  It is her second cookbook.  Her first cookbook was Homesick Texan Cookbook.  And she has a successful blog and website:  http://www.homesicktexan.com/
She (the Homesick Texan) makes them with chicken breasts, so I am posting her original recipe, but don't hesitate to make them with skirt steak, if you can find the cut in your grocery store.

I made both skirt steak and chicken thighs.  And I preferred the skirt steak because it was closer to what I remembered having in Monterrey.  (And now I know skirt steak was used in original fajitas.)

Chicken Fajitas
(adapted from Homesick Texan)

Serves 4 to 6

Chicken marinade:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic
1 t. ground cumin
4 dried chiles de arbol, stems removed(I used jalapeno)
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs

for the fajitas:
2 T. oil
2 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
salt
flour tortillas, warmed
guacamole or sour cream or both

In a blender or food processor, mix together the lime juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, cumin, and chiles de arbol.  Blend until smooth and add the salt and black pepper.
Pour the marinade over the chicken and marinate, refrigerated, for 1 to 2 hours.
Prepare the onions and the peppers before you start to cook.

To make the fajitas, drain the chicken from the marinade.  In a large, heavy skillet, heat up 1 T. oil on medium heat.
Add the chicken and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes per side, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.  I added the flank steak (which takes only a few minutes towards the end of the chicken cooking time.)
Remove the chicken from the skillet, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
If making the skirt steak, continue to cook it until browned, but rare.  You can tell by pressing on the meat. If it is soft, it isn't cooked enough.  It it starts to firm up then it is ready.  Or you can cut into the meat a little to check.
Remove the beef and allow it to rest, too.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 T. of oil in the skillet.  Add the bell peppers and onion and cook until tender and soft, 7 to 10 minutes.
Add salt to taste.  While the peppers and onions are cooking, heat up the flour tortillas.  This can be done in a skillet or by wrapping them in foil and placing them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes.
Slice the chicken and steak into thin strips across the grain.  Add the fully cooked chicken and meat back to the pan.  Note that the meat is still rare but it will continue cook as it is tossed with the peppers and onions.
Toss it all together.
Turn it out onto a large platter to serve at the table.

Serve with warm flour tortillas, guacamole, and whatever else you like.
Some people add sour cream. And salsa. Others add grated jack cheese.
Wrap and eat!

B


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