My husband (lovingly) mocks me sometimes for being a wuss about spicy foods-no extra hot sauce for me, thanks. But these South Texas Steak Fajitas from EatingWell magazine are a hit for both of us. The marinade has all kinds of deliciously fresh ingredients, such as jalapeño peppers, onion, cilantro, beer and lime juice that give the steak layers of taste-bud-popping flavor. Plus it calls for a time-saving shortcut: using bottled Italian dressing to bring together the start of your marinade with just one ingredient. And this recipe is so convenient: you can marinate the meat the night before or in the morning. When you're ready to cook, everything goes on the grill for a few minutes, so by the time the tortillas are heated, the fajita fixin's are ready. Everyone can assemble their own dinner to their own taste, with just as much heat as makes them happy.
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South Texas Steak Fajitas
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Makes: 4 servings, 2 fajitas (with 1/2 cup filling) each
Active time: 40 minutes | Total: 40 minutes (plus 8-24 hours marinating time)
This steak fajita recipe uses bottled Italian salad dressing as part of the steak marinade to make it quick and convenient. For a healthy choice, pick dressing with a short and simple ingredient list including canola or olive oil. Serve the steak fajitas with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and cold beer.
Steak & Marinade
3 fresh jalapeño peppers, stems and seeds removed
1 small onion, quartered
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3/4 cup beer, pale ale or lager
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (see Tips)
1/3 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 pound skirt steak (see Tips)
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 New Mexican green chiles or poblano peppers (see Tips), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 medium onion, halved and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 6-inch flour tortillas, heated
1. To marinate steak: Place jalapeños, quartered onion and cilantro in a blender or food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add beer, salad dressing, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and cumin and puree until smooth. Stir in bay leaf. Place steak in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Close and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
2. To grill steak: Preheat grill to medium-high.
3. Remove the steak from the marinade and place on the grill. (Discard marinade.) Grill 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium. Remove the steak to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
4. To prepare vegetables: Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add chiles and onion strips, sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until blackened in spots and just softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
5. Holding your knife at a 45-degree angle to the steak, very thinly slice across the grain-this helps keep the fajita tender. Serve the steak and vegetables on a platter with the tortillas so everyone can make their own fajitas at the table.
Per serving: 467 calories; 20 g fat (5 g sat, 10 g mono); 74 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 30 g protein; 3 g fiber; 792 mg sodium; 753 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (218% daily value), Zinc (41% dv), Iron (29% dv), Folate (22% dv), Potassium (21% dv).
Bottled Italian salad dressing is a tasty (and convenient) part of the fajita marinade. For a healthy choice, pick dressing with a short ingredient list including canola or olive oil.
Thin, flavorful skirt steak-a relatively inexpensive, thin, long cut with a rich, beefy flavor-is so often used for fajitas that it's sometimes referred to as fajita steak. It stays tender if cooked quickly. If overcooked, it can be tough. Skirt steak is becoming more widely available, but it's a good idea to call ahead to make sure your market has it or ask the butcher to order it for you.
New Mexico chiles (aka Anaheim chiles) are 7 to 10 inches long, ripen from green to red and are mildly spicy. Poblano peppers (sometimes called pasilla peppers) are dark green in color, about 6 inches long and can be fiery or relatively mild; there's no way to tell until you taste them. The two can be used interchangeably and are found at most large supermarkets.
What are your favorite Tex-Mex foods?
By Wendy Ruopp
Wendy Ruopp has been the managing editor of EatingWell for most of her adult life. Although she writes about food for the Weeknights column of EatingWell Magazine, her husband does the cooking at home.
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