Aaron's Fajitas, si!

By Aaron Walters

Our love for foods from south of the border is strong, and fajitas have a big following. You may be intimidated trying to make them at home, thinking fajitas are too hard to make right. I have (graciously) decided to bestow upon you one of my most coveted recipes: my homemade fajitas.

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There are two keys to success when making this dish; the marinade and the tortillas. Follow those and it's sure to be a resounding success. Also very important, but just outside the ring of being a necessity, is the cut of steak. My go-to is skirt steak. It has a great fat content and the marinade really soaks into the meat, making it even more delicious. While skirt steak can be difficult to find at times, I promise it's worth the effort. In addition, I like to do a batch of chicken breasts or thighs.

Aaron's Cinco de Mayo Fajitas

  • skirt steak
  • chicken breasts
  • sautéed onions and peppers
  • chipotle black beans
  • homemade tortillas

So let's get into it. Here's the super secret marinade!

Fajita marinade

  • 1 part soy sauce
  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • 1/2 part water

Yep, that's it. Super difficult, right? I will tell you why this marinade is foolproof and a go-to for fajitas. Stay with me here, we're going to get a little scientific. The acid in the pineapple juice breaks down the fat in the meat, allowing the soy sauce to come in and get all flavorful with the meat, then the water forms a seal to keep all the tasty goodness inside! I let mine soak overnight for the best results. When you're ready to cook get your grill going nice and hot and sear the steaks for 3 minutes on each side, then move to a warming oven to hold until ready to eat. 

For the onions and peppers

  • 2 yellow onions
  • 3 bell peppers (I like the triple-colored pack)
  • fajita marinade from above

Slice the onions and peppers. Make a small batch of the marinade and let these guys soak for a couple of hours.  Sauté in a hot skillet with high heat oil, such as peanut or sunflower, cooking them over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until caramelized.

So there's the first key to success! Now for the second:

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The tortillas

Head on out to a Mexican grocer and get you some flour tortilla mix. It's a dry mix that looks like flour, but it already has the fat built into it. Fun fact, they also sell it at Wal-Mart. I know, another super easy "key" but take it from me, if you buy the same old off-the-shelf tortillas they will not be as good.  You're going to follow the directions on the package. 

  • 2 cups flour tortilla mix
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Mix together with a fork until a wet dough forms. Sprinkle a little more flour if needed. Shape into a ball and let rest at room temp for about 15 minutes. Next, portion the dough, rolling it into 1" balls. Once portioned, roll out or press in a tortilla press and cook in a dry, warmed non-stick skillet for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on both sides. Keep warm until ready to eat.

Now for what I describe as the impromptu jazz portion of cooking. My black beans are a little different every time I make them. I like to cook by feeling and availability of fresh ingredients around me. That being said, here is a good starting point for a memorable batch of black beans!

Black Beans

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and washed (I like the no salt added beans to control the salt in my food)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 2 Tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo, seeded
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
  • vegetable oil, for cooking

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or high-sided pan. Once hot, add shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add drained black beans, chipotle in adobo, cumin, ancho, and oregano and stir to coat everything well. Add chicken stock, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Top with Cotija and cilantro and serve. 

And there you have it – you can now recreate my famous fajitas! I like to enjoy mine with a nice off-dry Riesling; I suggest you do the same! Check out our selection of Riesling wines on our online shop here.

Salut!