Recipe by Witch Doctor
O.K., folks! There is NO such thing as a CHICKEN, SHRIMP. SQUID or other type fajita EXCEPT BEEF! The term fajita is the American counterpart of the Mexican term arracheras, which is the tough and membranous cut from the underbelly of BEEF cattle. The chicken, etc. is simply a piece of chicken wrapped in a tortilla and seasoned with appropriate spices. Fajitas start with the marinade. These marinades for beef fajitas rely on the acid ingredients like lime juice not just for flavor, but to tenderize the meat. Some marinades use papaya juice to tenderize and flavor the meat. Beef fajitas should be marinaded for several hours or up to 24 hours. I include only one marinade for beef and (God forgive me!) one for chicken. Some marinades contain fresh or dried chilis as a heat source. There is nothing written in stone when it comes to the ingredients for the marinades. Some have bottled salad dressing, tequila or coca-cola. There are three choices in cooking fajitas: Grilling, Oven Broiling or Pan-Frying. Grilling is the traditional method of preparing fajitas. When the coals are ready (NOTICE I said Coals - NOT gas!), drain the marinade from the meat and allow the meat to come to room temperature. Cook about 3 inches above the coals for approximately 6 minutes on each side for skirt steaks between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds. When the meat is cooked to your liking, remove from the grill and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut across the grain and diagonally into finger-lehgth strips. Oven broiling (ONLY when the weather is bad and you can't light the grill!) Broil the meat about 4 inches below the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes per side, then let meat rest and slice as above for grilling. Pan-Frying (ONLY if you have a large cast iron skillet) Drain the meat then cut across the grain, diagonally as above. Fry the strips over high heat, working in batches, if necessary, turning frequently. They should take between 1 1/2 to 2 minutes to cook. To eat fajitas, you roll them in a flour tortilla (Real Mexicans use CORN tortillas), but NOT by themselves. The proper fajita feast will include a stack of warm tortillas, grilled or fried onions and bell peppers, pico de gallo, guacamole and if you are a YANKEE, a little sour cream!
- 2 1⁄4 lbs skirt steaks (about 3/4 -inch thick)
- 12 -20 warm flour tortillas
- 2 grilled onions (or Fried)
- 2 grilled bell peppers (or fried)
For Beef Fajita Marinade
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup tequila
- 1⁄3 cup canola oil
- 1⁄3 cup fresh lime juice
- 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 fresh jalapenos, stems and seeds removed, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 -2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- salt, to taste
Marinade for Chicken
- 1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper, to taste
Pico de Gallo
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded, pulp removed, finely chopped
- 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2⁄3 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, finely diced
- 5 radishes, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
- 3 -4 fresh serrano chilies, seeded, very finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- salt, to taste
- 2 large ripe haas avocados, peeled and pitted
- 1 chopped jalapeno chile
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 tomatoes, minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 -2 green onion, minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Directions See How It's Made
- For BEEF Fajita marinade:.
- Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour marinade over meat in shallow glass, plastic or other non-reactive container (a 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag works well). Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
- For the Chicken Marinade:.
- Combine lime juice, garlic, pepper, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Marinate.
- chicken covered in refrigerator 1 hour or as long as overnight.
- For the Pico de gallo:.
- Mix all ingredients together. Sprinkle lime juice over all. Add salt to taste.
- Best if refrigerated, covered, for at least 1 hour, and served the same day made.
- For the Guacamole:.
- Roughly mash the peeled avocadoes in a bowl. Leave lumps. Stir in the lime or lemon juice. Add all remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve at once.
- If you must refrigerate guacamole, cover it with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on the surface. Contact with air will darken the guacamole. Use, however, as quickly as possible.
- Guacamole heat preferences range from none to plenty. Obviously, the heat depends upon the quantity of jalapeños used. Some chiles are hotter than others, so experiment to determine your favorite proportion of ingredients.