Home is my sanctuary, my refuge, my safe place and I’ve always been blessed to have really great neighbors that help to make it that.
Billy is on the road on average 4 months of the year (not all at one time) so my neighbors tend to watch out for me and make sure I’m okay. I am truly grateful for that.
So when my neighbors Mark and his teenage grandson Kailer needed a hand, the least I could do was to make them dinner. I told them that I would make anything that they wanted; and Kailer requested Fajitas.
Even though I said yes, I wasn’t quite sure how they would turn out. The fajitas have to get from my cook top to their house and then will probably sit in the oven for a while until Mark and Kailer were ready to eat. What makes fajitas so good is that they come out sizzling hot with crisp veggies and nicely browned but still juicy strips of meat. Could I achieve that? Because I am prideful in nature (yes I have issues, God is STILL working on me) I only wanted to serve them amazing food…the anxiety! Aaargh!
When the time came to make the fajitas I threw up my prayer “Lord, please don’t let me fail”. (Apparently I have the whole fear of failure issue as well; I am revealing waaay more about myself then I ever intended). The trick is to cook everything really quickly over really high heat, this allows the veggies to stay crispy and the meat juicy while it’s kept warm in the oven.
After the fact I was greeted with a big ol’ smile and Kailer emphatically told me that they were the best fajitas he’s ever had; well if that didn’t make my day!
Here’s what you do.
|For the marinade you will need Sour Orange juice, the juice of 2 limes, olive oil, sugar, seasoned salt, garlic powder, Chinese five spice, and pepper. Sour orange juice is found in the aisle with the Latin foods.|
|Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a measuring cup, the spout makes it easy to pour.|
Pre heat the oven to 225 degrees.
Divide the tortillas into two stacks, wrap each stack in foil and put them in the oven to warm.
|Slice up the peppers and onions.|
|Slice the steak into thin strips against the grain. I used top sirloin because it's tasty and affordable, but skirt steak would be terrific as well.|
|I sliced the steak and chicken after marinating so that the marinade wouldn't break down the meat too much. Keep the raw meat on separate dishes. Discard the used marinade.|
|Now turn the exhaust fan to high.|
The key to fajitas is to cook everything over super high heat, super fast.
If you have a large griddle you could cook all the veggies at once, and then all the meat at once; but since I don't this is the method that I used.
|Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. Coat the bottom of the skillet with a little canola or grape seed oil. Add the onions to the hot skillet and season with a little salt, pepper and Mexican oregano.|
|Cook until the onions have just softened and are a nice golden color, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove them to a sheet pan.|
|Get the skillet good and hot again and repeat with the green bell peppers. See how the peppers have a little brown color, but are mostly still bright green and have a crisp texture; this takes only about 2 minutes.|
|Do the same with the red bell peppers. Put the pan in the warm oven while you cook the meat.|
|Then add ALL of the cooked chicken to the skillet and pour half of the reserved marinade over the chicken. Cook until the marinade reduces and coats the chicken. Remove that to a sheet pan.|
|Repeat with the steak; cooking half at a time. The steak will take only about a minute to cook.|
|You can keep the meat warm in the oven for a bit if needed.|
BEEF & CHICKEN FAJITAS FOR A CROWD
FOR THE FAJITAS
1 1/4 lb. Beef steak; top sirloin, or skirt steak
1 1/4 lb. Chicken breast, boneless skinless
Sour Orange Marinade (recipe follows)
24 Flour tortillas, taco size
Canola or grape seed oil
1 ½ Large onions, sliced
2 Green bell peppers, sliced lengthwise
2 Red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise
1 tsp. Oregano, preferably Mexican
Salt and pepper
2 cups Mexican Blend cheese (grated cheddar or jack cheese can be substituted)
2 cups Salsa
2 cups Sour cream
1. Place the whole steak (you may have to cut it in half to fit) in a zipper bag and pour ½ cup of the marinade over the top. Zip up the bag and marinade in the refrigerator for one to overnight, turning the bag every so often. In a separate bag do the same with the chicken, though I prefer to only marinade the chicken for a couple of hours, do whatever you’re comfortable with. Keep the remaining marinade refrigerated.
2. When the meat has marinated; slice the steak against the grain into thin strips. Slice the chicken into thin strips. Keep the raw meat in separated dishes; discard the used marinade.
3. Have a couple of sheet pans ready to go and heat the oven just to warm.
4. Divide the tortillas into two stacks and wrap each stack in foil. Place in the oven.
5. Each item will cook in batches and be kept warm in the oven, in order to not overcook them; veggies will not be cooked all the way through.
6. Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. (You will want to turn the exhaust fan on) Coat the bottom of the pan with just a little oil; add the onions with a pinch of salt, pepper and ¼ tsp. of oregano. Cook, stirring just until the onions are soft 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a sheet pan.
7. Add a bit more oil to the bottom of the skillet along with the green bell peppers, a pinch of salt and half of the remaining oregano. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes, just to get a little color and to remove the rawness from the peppers they should still be crisp. Remove to the same sheet pan as the onions
8. Repeat with the red bell peppers. When they are done, put the pan of veggies into the oven to keep warm.
9. Again, coat the bottom of the hot skillet in oil, add half of the chicken; season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Brown both sides of the chicken for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken to a sheet and repeat with the other half of the chicken. When that the chicken has cooked add ALL the cooked chicken back to the skillet and add half of the reserved marinade; stirring for a couple of minutes until the marinade reduces and it coats the chicken. Remove to a sheet pan, and keep warm in the oven.
10. Wipe the skillet down and heat it once again on high heat, add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet and add half the beef. Repeat the same process with the beef as with the chicken; however the beef will cook for only 1 minute on each side, depending on how well done you like your steak.
11. Arrange all the cooked meat and vegetables in an attractive on a platter.
12. Serve with warmed flour tortillas, grated cheese, salsa and sour cream.
FOR THE SOUR ORANGE MARINADE
1 cup Sour orange juice (found in the Latin food aisle)
2 limes, juice of
1/3 cup Olive oil
1 ½ tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Seasoned salt
¼ tsp. Chinese five spice powder
½ tsp. Garlic powder
¼ tsp. Black pepper
1. Combine all the ingredients in a large measuring cup.
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