Quick Mexican Fajitas

  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: easy

‘…Fajitas are the ultimate family feast. The more ingredients there are, the more combinations you can make – perfect for picky kids! It’s social, fun, easy and always creates a buzz at the table.’

Pete
'We've been eating Mexican food for as long as I can remember. This simple fajita meal is perfect for a family feast, kids birthday party or having your mates over for the big game...'

What you need

For the fajitas

500g – 600g meat of choice. Chicken breast/beef steak/lamb leg steak/pork fillet or leftover cooked meat

1 large onion

1 green pepper

1 yellow or red pepper

1 or 2 green chillies depending on strength and taste

3 cloves garlic

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican if possible)

125ml chicken stock – or leftover gravy

Salt and pepper

1 lime

Olive oil

 

For the side dishes

8 or more medium corn or flour tortillas. For an authentic taste source corn tortillas from a Mexican supplier.

200g Double Gloucester cheese – or similar

400g tomatoes

1 or 2 ripe avocados

250ml Greek yoghurt

1 or 2 little gem lettuces

70 grams dried black pitted olives – or other types

4 limes

Small handful coriander – chopped

 

To accompany

Bought chips and hot salsa

Cholula sauce

NB: If you have more time, Guacamole can replace the plain sliced avocado. See the recipe for guacamole.



Dad's Recipe Tales

Fajitas (and tacos) – a very sociable way to eat

Fajitas generate familial goodwill; their informality and simplicity encourages a spirit of communal enterprise where everybody can help prepare the meal. Fajitas are for sharing; the passing and distributing of bowls, dishes and tortillas stimulates co-operation and easy conversation – and fajitas are finger food; do provide knives and forks, but the easiest way to eat a fajita is with your hands.

What is a fajita?

A fajita refers to the way the meat is cut into strips, not a type of taco. Fajita is Spanish for strip, sash or belt and it is used to describe the skirt or flank cut of beef – the band of muscle around the abdomen (the cut of meat traditionally used for fajitas). I use any type of meat for fajitas; especially leftover roast meat (as in the photo above). Onglet steak would be excellent, however, like skirt and flank it will need marinating and extra prep work. Beef steak, lamb leg steak, chicken breast or pork fillet are the easiest and quickest meats to use – and they can all be cut into ‘strips’.

Fajitas are also fun to cook…

I remember many years ago, eating in a Mexican restaurant in southern California, where the cooking took place in a large exposed open kitchen. When fajitas were ordered, the chefs – with great bravado – would spring into action: meat, onions, peppers, garlic and chilli would be tossed, banged and seared in large pans over red-hot coals and leaping flames. In a final flourish, the fajitas were piled onto smoking cast iron serving pans, where they sizzled, spat and steamed. Every time I make fajitas I imagine I am one of the chefs back at that restaurant.

How Dad Cooked It

  1. Slice the meat and marinate quickly in the juice of half a lime, a tablespoon of olive oil, half the cumin and oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Prepare the side dishes. Chop the tomatoes, shred the lettuce, peel and slice the avocado, grate the cheese, cut the limes. Place all the prepared sides in bowls or arrange on a platter. Put the olives and yoghurt in separate bowls.
  3. Slice the onion in half through the top to the roots. Peel and slice into thin strips, i.e. half a ‘ring’. Do the same with the peppers. Chop the garlic.
  4. In a very hot frying pan or wok cook the onion in a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss and stir these in the pan – they need some colour without burning and will take about 5 minutes. Place the onions in a separate bowl. Repeat the process with the peppers.
  5. Fry the chilli in a little oil and then add the garlic, continue frying until just starting to colour then add the stock. Let this boil and reduce by a third. Pour over the onions and peppers.
  6. If available, pre-heat a cast iron skillet for serving at the table. Otherwise warm a serving dish.
  7. Heat the tortillas according to the packet instructions. Our preference is to heat in the oven, but the microwave is fine if you’re in a rush.
  8. Fry the meat in two batches. This keeps the temperature high, so the meat sears and browns. On the second batch add the rest of the cumin and oregano half way through cooking. When browned and cooked add the rest of the meat and vegetables and heat through. Season and finish with a squeeze of lime and chopped coriander.
  9. Add the fajitas to the skillet (if using), or the serving dish. Serve immediately.

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