Adventures in Southwest Cooking: Chipotle Steak Fajitas

I still consider myself pretty conservative when it comes to Santa Fean cooking.  I'm fearful of big words (Calabacitas and Chicharrones and Chimichangas, oh my!), I steer clear of excessively long ingredient lists (like the 24 ingredients needed for the Veracruz-style Fish), and I am years away from even attempting homemade tortillas or sopaipillas.  That being said, I am really growing to appreciate the flavors of green and red chile, chipotle seasoning, crushed red pepper, jalapenos, and other tastes of the Southwest.

These aren't the type of fajitas you'd see in a Tex-Mex restaurant with peppers and onions and sizzling skillets of meat.  Fajita is basically a general term for any type of grilled meat served in a tortilla, and the salsa (broadly defined as sauce) is more like guacomole.  These steak fajitas have a yummy chipotle garlic marinade and are quick and easy to prepare.  Enjoy!

Chipotle-Marinated Steak Fajitas with Chunky Avocado Salsa (from the Santa Fe School of Cooking's Flavors of the Southwest)


1 small white onion, peeled, cut into large pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons toasted and ground coriander seeds
2 tablespoons toasted and ground cumin seeds
2 tablespoons pureed chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

FOR CHIPOTLE MARINADE: Pulse the onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add the coriander, cumin, chipotles in adobo, brown sugar and oil, and pulse to combine thoroughly.  The mixture should resemble a thick paste.  Season with salt.

1 1/2 pounds top round steak, trimmed of fat
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly squeeze lime juice
6 large, thin flour tortillas

FOR FAJITAS:  1.  Rub steak with the Chipotle Marinade and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
2.  Preheat grill.  Season the meat with salt and pepper and sprinkle with lime juice.  Grill to medium-rare over high heat, about 1 minute per side.  Remove from the grill and cut into strips with the grain of the meat.
3.  Lightly toast tortillas over a flame.  Top tortillas with meat strips and serve with Chunky Avocado Salsa.

3 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
1-2 serrano chiles to taste, seeded and diced
Minced garlic
1 medium red onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 large, ripe Haas avocados
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt to taste

FOR SALSA:  1.  Combine the tomatoes, chiles, garlic, onion and cilantro.  Set aside.
2.  Cut the avocados in half, running a knife around the pit from stem to blossom end and back again; twist the halves in opposite directions to free the pits and pull the halves apart.  Cut each half into large chunks.  Add to tomato mixture and stir gently to combine.
3.  Season the salsa with lime juice and salt.

Pureeing the marinade

Marinading the steak

Chunky Avocado Salsa


(Note:  I omitted the onion because Jaycob and I hate onions, and added red bell pepper and green chile to the salsa, plus shredded Mexican cheese on the fajitas!)


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