Monday, April 8, 2013

Not Your Usual Steak Fajitas

Hi Everyone! I am the host for this week's Food Matters Project and can’t wait to share with you another good Mark Bittman recipe… Not Your Usual Steak Fajitas! They are indeed pretty unusual, in a really good way.

So much has happened between the time I made this recipe and today. A lovely whirlwind of activities and events that I still cannot wrap my head around. I made this recipe ahead of time so I don’t have to worry about it this weekend… and my apologies for the late post. But here it is!

These steak fajitas remind me so much of the Filipino style escabeche that my mom makes during fiestas and birthday parties. It’s basically a whole fish, seasoned with salt and pepper, then deep fried in hot oil. And then, a sauté of garlic, ginger, onions, and bell peppers, with vinegar, water, and sugar is poured on top.

Although the ingredients for Bittman’s fajitas and the Filipino style escabeche are not quite the same, the flavors are somehow related. These fajitas are not seasoned with the regular fajita seasonings (cumin-cayenne-paprika-chili powder combination), in fact none of these are in the recipe! All the basic fajita fixings are present: garlic, onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, and carrots. In addition to these are two special ingredients that made it extremely delightful: crunchy jicama and fresh pineapple chunks in a tequila-lime sauce.  

A delicious sweet and sour dish complete with meat, vegetables, and a fruit! Every bite is full of crunchy and juicy caramelized vegetable-pineapple bites with tender steak pieces plus a nice limey bite. This tropical inspired dish will take you to a different place… white sand, blue skies, cool ocean breeze, and warm waters!        

These steak fajitas may be served with rice, corn tortillas, or both with a side of guacamole and salsa. Delicious from the moment they are scooped right off the skillet and even more so after a day or two!

Not Your Usual Steak Fajitas  
Mark Bittman, The Food Matters Cookbook

Makes: 4 servings        Time: 40 minutes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 to 12 ounces beef skirt, rib-eye, tenderloin, or sirloin steak, thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 red or green bell peppers, cut into strips
1 or 2 fresh hot chiles (like jalapeno or Thai), seeded and minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces jicama, peeled and cut into sticks
2 large carrots, cut into sticks
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (I used 2 heaping cups)
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup tequila or water, or a combination (I used tequila)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Warm corn or whole wheat tortillas, for serving, optional

1. Put a large skillet over high heat until it smokes, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and, a few seconds later, the steak. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir immediately. Cook, stirring every 20 seconds or so, until it loses color, just a minute or 2. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the onion, bell peppers, chile, and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the steak.

3. Raise the heat to high again and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the jicama, and carrots. Stir immediately, then cook, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until the vegetables soften and begin to char slightly, 3-5 minutes. Transfer everything to the plate with the steak.

4. Add the pineapple, lime juice, and tequila to the skillet. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring to scrape any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the glaze thickens a little. Return all the vegetables and meat to the pan and toss to coat with the lime and tequila mixture. Garnish with cilantro and serve with warm tortillas.

Not Your Usual Chicken Fajitas. Use boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into ½ - to ¾ - inch chunks, instead of the steak.

P.S. Head over to the FMP website to see delicious versions of this recipe made by the other members! Have a great week friends!


  1. Wow, this looks great! As a kid, I loved pineapple in dishes, but then stopped liking it, and am only now starting to like it again. Yum!

  2. This sounds amazing! You are right, they certainly aren't the usual, boring fajitas. Must try!

  3. Sounds like this was a great pick Margarita! We didn't have enough time to make it, but I'll have to give it a try soon- especially since grilling season is just around the corner, DC is finally warming up again.

  4. Great choice Margie! I loved the tequilla-lime sauce.


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