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Easy Fajitas Two Ways

I cannot pretend that this recipe is authentic. It mostly reminds me of my childhood. Quick weeknight meals- chicken breast and a fajita kit. This recipe is a more refined version of my childhood recipe, since I still do use the fajita seasoning spice mix, which enables me to make the signature sauce of the dish in my childhood. I like to dip my rolled up fajitas into this extra sauce; sometimes there is no way to improve upon nostalgia.

However, we never made steak fajitas growing up; those I have either enjoyed at a restaurant or  from studying and testing recipes. A steak fajita is the most authentic protein for this dish. Fajita is a Tex-Mex, Texan-Mexican American or Tejano, diminutive term for little strips of meat cut from the beef skirt, the most common cut used to make fajitas. However, these days fajitas can be made with chicken, pork, shrimp, lamb, salmon and all cuts of beef. 

I like to slice my steak after searing it in a very hot pan; I get a lovely browned crust, but the slices are still wonderfully rare and juicy after being rested. Somedays I like to stuff my fajitas with cheese, sour cream and guacamole, but other days all I need is a quick squeeze of lime. Finish with a sip of beer and you have a lovely, comfort meal. Enjoy!

2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1.5 pounds of skirt or flank steak
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1 minced garlic clove
juice of half a lime
2 belle peppers ( I used red and yellow), thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeƱo, minced (and seeded, if preferred)
2 tablespoons no-salt fajitas seasoning spice blend, divided
1/3 cup water
High heat flavorless oil (safflower, grape seed, canola, etc)
Cheese, sour cream, guacamole and soft flour tortillas, to serve

Marinate the steak. Place it in a large ziploc bag with salt, pepper, the minced garlic, lime, cumin, coriander, chili powder and paprika. Leave in the fridge to marinate up to an hour.Remove from the fridge about 15 minutes before you intend to cook it to allow the steak to come up to temperature.

Meanwhile, put your flour tortillas in a stone tortilla baker and put that the oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Your tortillas with be soft and stems when you need them. The tortilla baker will keep them warm and prevent them from drying out at the table as well.

Put about 1 tablespoon on oil into a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and peppers, a pinch of salt and a good cracking of fresh black pepper. Sprinkle over about 1 tablespoon of the fajita seasoning.  Saute until the vegetables are tender-crisp and remove to a plate.

Add the chicken to the skillet, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and cook until the strips are beginning to color. Sprinkle on the rest of the fajita seasoning and add a 1/3 of a cup of water. Cook for about a minute until the sauce thickens, then remove to a plate.

Finally, preheat another skillet on high heat with a small amount of oil. Add the steak and cook for 2 to 3 minutes a side. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing across the grain.

Assemble you fajitas with chicken or steaks, veggies and any topping you like- cheese sour cream, guacamole, a squeeze of lime… Enjoy!


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