Sunday, December 9, 2012

#16 Tex-Mex Steak Fajitas

I thought Fajita originated somewhere other than..Texas! Here is what we learned from a 2005 The Austin Chronicle article by Virginia Wood:

'In exploring the history of fajitas, several credible stories emerge, and all of them have roots in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. 
The first serious study of the history of fajitas was done in 1984 by Homero Recio as part of his graduate work in animal science at Texas A&M. Recio was intrigued by a spike in the retail price of skirt steak, and that sparked his research into the dish that took the once humble skirt steak from throwaway cut to menu star. Recio found anecdotal evidence describing the cut of meat, the cooking style (directly on a campfire or on a grill), and the Spanish nickname going back as far as the 1930s in the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, beef were butchered regularly to feed the hands. Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, and meat trimmings such as skirt were given to the Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) as part of their pay. Hearty border dishes like barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), and fajitas/arracheras (grilled skirt steak) have their roots in this practice. Fifth-generation McAllen rancher and cookbook author Melissa Guerra heard very similar stories in researching her first cookbook, The Texas Provincial Kitchen, and her upcoming work, Dishes of the Wild Horse Desert. Considering the limited number of skirts per carcass and the fact the meat wasn't available commercially, the fajita tradition remained regional and relatively obscure for many years, probably only familiar to vaqueros, butchers, and their families.'  read more

I'm always hungry for Steak Fajitas. I don't even remember ordering anything else but fajitas when we go to a Tex-Mex Restaurant. It's always great. Typically made with grilled skirt steak or carne asada, I had to use tri-tip beef since it's what we had in the fridge.



1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb flank steak, skirt steak or carne asada
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper, core removed and sliced into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, core removed and sliced into strips
salt to taste


1 lime, juiced
2 tbsps. of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 fresh Jalapeño pepper, core removed, and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, including stems
  1. Mix all marinade and coat the meat. Let it marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Wipe off most of the marinade from the meat.
  3.  Heat a large iron cast pan or griddle, in high heat.
  4. Add 1 tbsp. of oil and heat for 1 minute.
  5. Add the steak, frying on each side for 3 minutes
  6. Remove the meat from pan and set it aside, tent it with foil.
  7. Cook the vegetables immediately while meat is resting. Add oil to pan if necessary, then add the onions and then the bell peppers. Let sear for a minute before stirring. Cook for 5 minutes, total, let it sear  then stir every minute.
  8. Slice the meat against the grain into thin slices.
  9. Serve immediately with shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, shredded lettuce and warm flour tortillas.

    We liked this recipe very much. I've always wondered what gives that distinct flavor in a fajita steak.
    I achieved it through this recipe, I think it is the combination of ground cumin and cilantro,  we truly liked it.

    We had too much left to do that day and too tired to look at photos of Texas online. We were so hungry too! We wanted to put the food on the table as fast as we could and so we we're quiet until meal time. After our stomachs were happy, we did talk a lot about the country where we live in and the current events. Even the rumored doomsday on the 21st. LOL. We talked about geography too, she knows a little bit more than I expected. :) 
    It was a great meal and a great time. As always.

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