Tag Archives: tex-mex

Steak Fajitas

Steak FajitasHello! I am taking a break from an absolutely insane week to bring you one of my favorite dinners ever–Steak Fajitas!

Steak FajitasAs you know by now, I was raised in Texas. Naturally, Tex-Mex is my love language. And while I live for enchiladas, fajitas are the real way to my heart. Yep.

Until a few years ago, I thought of fajitas as a restaurant-only meal. It’s easy to understand, given that I had only ever seen them served in a blistering hot cast iron pan. Something about all that presentation (which occasionally included fire) made fajitas seem far beyond my abilities. That’s ridiculous, of course. Fajitas are just meat, peppers, and onions that have been cooked in a screaming-hot pan. That’s literally the whole process, aside from heating some tortillas and arranging some toppings. You don’t even have to make guacamole and salsa if you don’t feel like it.

You totally should though. Homemade guacamole and salsa beat the pants off anything you can buy.Steak FajitasSo, how exactly do you make Steak Fajitas at home? Well, it all starts with the marinade. Mine involves soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, lime, and plenty of spices–loads of flavor here! Mix the marinade, pour it in a bag, and add two pounds of flank steak. Seal the bag and then let the meat sit at room temperature for an hour.

Next, slice up a large onion and some bell peppers. That won’t take the whole hour, so make the guacamole and salsa (seriously, do it), shred some cheese, chop some cilantro, and take the remaining half hour to needlessly surf the Internet or teach yourself how to do calligraphy or something.

Steak FajitasWhen the hour is up, cook the steaks as desired. These are cooked to medium, but make yours to your liking. Then, let them rest while you cook the peppers and onions. Slice the steaks and transfer everything to a serving dish. Warm some tortillas and serve with all those garnishes. Your family and friends will love being able to customize this meal to their liking!

Steak FajitasSteak FajitasY’all, these Steak Fajitas are crazy good. The steak is super flavorful from the marinade, and the vegetables are the perfect accompaniment. Piled into a warm flour tortilla and topped with all sorts of goodness, these fajitas are great for weeknights and summertime dinner parties alike! The only way to improve upon this meal is to make Churros for dessert šŸ˜ŠSteak Fajitas

Steak Fajitas
makes about 6 servings

Marinade:
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground chile powder (I used ancho)
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 limes, sliced into half-moons
1 jalapeƱo, stem removed, sliced in half

Fajitas:
2 pounds flank steak (I had 2 steaks)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large white onion, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1-2 sweet bell peppers, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

For serving:
1-2 dozen small flour tortillas, warmed
guacamole
salsa
shredded cheese
sour cream
chopped cilantro

Marinate the steak. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, cumin, chile powder, and cayenne. Pour mixture into a gallon zip-top bag, and drop in lime slices and jalapeƱo. Add steak to bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Set full bag in a bowl (in case of leaks) and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour (or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator). Remove steak from bag and blot with paper towels. Discard marinade.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Working in batches (if necessary) cook each steak 3-4 minutes per side for medium, or longer, depending on your preferences. Remove to a rimmed sheet pan and tent with foil.

Turn heat down to medium. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, if necessary. Add onions and peppers to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until soft (about 10 minutes). Remove to a serving dish.

Remove steak to a cutting board. Working against the grain, cut the steak into thin slices. Transfer to a serving dish.

Serve fajitas with warm flour tortillas, guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, and/or cilantro, if desired.

Fajitas will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Steak Fajitas

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Chorizo Refried Beans & Tex-Mex Rice

Chorizo Refried Beans & Tex-Mex RiceNew York City is an amazing place to live. Beyond the incredible architecture, the millions of bright and driven people, and the general “OMG I live here” of it all, there’s the fact that you can get a bagel with cream cheese a literally any hour. I know you’re jealous.

As I’ve lamented many times though, New York is lacking in one area: there is not one true Tex-Mex restaurant that is worth a damn. Not one. Sure, you can get decent tacos all over the city and I am particularly fond of the mushroom enchiladas at Alma, but those alone simply won’t cut it. And don’t even get me started on the salsa situation.

Chorizo Refried Beans & Tex-Mex RiceI’ve already put a few salsa recipes on here, along with guacamole, Enchiladas Suizas, and this week’s Caramelized Mushroom Tostada recipe, but my recipe index has been lacking in terms of Tex-Mex sides…until today.

Chorizo Refried Beans & Tex-Mex RiceThese Chorizo Refried Beans & Tex-Mex Rice are staples of mine. They’re spectacular by themselves or with a side salad, but they really sing when they’re next to an enchilada or two. The recipes are delightfully easy and come together in about 40 minutes total. I know that making sides can be less than appealing after you’ve already put together a main course, but when they taste this much like home, they’re worth the effort.Chorizo Refried Beans & Tex-Mex Rice

Chorizo Refried Beans
makes 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces raw chorizo, removed from casings
1 large white onion, diced small
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 15 ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/3 cup chicken stock
Kosher or sea salt to taste, optional
1-2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chorizo, breaking it up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Remove meat to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving fat. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. SautƩ onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in beans and cumin. Add chicken stock and return heat to medium-high heat. Let stock simmer 5-7 minutes, until slightly reduced. Remove pan from heat. Use a potato masher or two forks to mash ingredients together. Fold in browned chorizo.

Remove beans to a serving dish and top with shredded cheese. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Tex-Mex Rice
recipe from Homesick Texan
makes 4-6 servings

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, diced small
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime

Place rice, chicken stock, and butter in a small pot (one that has a lid). Bring uncovered pot to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook 15-20 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Let sit 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium-high heat. SautƩ onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and salt. Remove pan from heat. Stir in cooked rice until everything is evenly coated. Fold in chopped cilantro and lime juice.

Serve rice immediately. Leftover rice will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasWhile I was in Texas over the holidays, I did a lot more than celebrate and spoil my parents’ miniature schnauzer. The second week of vacation wasn’t vacation at all, really. I hosted a pop-up sale in my parents’ dining room and catered my friend/reader Robyn’s birthday party!

Together with my sous chef/little sister, Eliot, I made a full Tex-Mex dinner for Robyn’s 30 guests. There were pans and pans of Enchiladas Suizas, chorizo refried beans, and Mexican rice (side dish recipes coming later this week!), and a Mexican Vanilla Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream. Robyn let me use her amazing Mexican vanilla for the cake, and even gave me a bottle! Talk about a good hostess šŸ˜Š

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasI was super happy with all the food, but the biggest hit of the party was the appetizer: Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas. And who wouldn’t love them? Crispy fried tortillas layered with guacamole, sweet and savory mushrooms, pickled red onion, and cotija cheese–they’re an unbelievable combination of flavors and textures! Crispy, crunchy, creamy, earthy, sweet, salty, and tangy–that’s a lot to pack into a two-bite canapĆ©.

While these Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas make a great appetizer (just use a 2 1/2″ round cutter to make tiny tostada shells), they’re also a great main course. There are a few steps in putting them together, but they’re not difficult to make at all! This batch came together in an hour, including making the guacamole and frying the tostada shells. Sure, you could use purchased guac and shells, but the homemade versions are super simple to make and far more delicious than anything you can find in stores.

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasStart by quick-pickling some red onion. I know pickling can sound daunting, but this method is so simple, it’s ridiculous. Just whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt, and pour it over some thinly-sliced red onion. Let that sit at room temperature for an hour. That’s literally it–easy. You can make these pickles up to two weeks in advance. Just keep them in the brine in the fridge.

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasWhile your red onions are pickling, caramelize some mushrooms. Well, a lot of mushrooms–this recipe requires a full pound of them! When they’re all sliced up, it will look like you way over-prepared, but mushrooms shrink down dramatically while cooking. Once all is said and done, you’ll be left with about two cups.

What makes these mushrooms caramelized? Two things. First, they’re cooked over pretty high heat until nice and brown. Second, they’re seasoned with sugar in addition to salt, cumin, and cayenne. Sweetened mushrooms might sound a little odd, but along with the salt and spices, they are super delicious.

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasThe most daunting step of the whole tostada-making process is definitely making the shells, but really, there’s nothing to fear. I know a lot of people are intimidated by frying, but they shouldn’t be. Yes, there’s hot oil and that can burn you, but if you take the proper precautions, you’ll be fine. Fill a clean, dry pan with 1/2-inch of oil. When the oil is nice and hot, take a couple of corn tortillas and gently place them in the pan. They’ll bubble up quickly and dramatically. After about 45 seconds, they’ll start turning golden at the edges. Flip the tortillas and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle them with salt. Voila! You just made tostada shells and you and your kitchen are still intact šŸ˜Š

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasOnce the tortillas are crispy, it’s time to assemble the tostadas. Spread guacamole over each tostada shell. Scatter the beautiful brown caramelized mushrooms over the guac, and then top them with a few of the pickled red onions. Sprinkle on some cotija cheese and dig in!Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas

Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas
makes 5-6 six-inch tostadas

Quick-Pickled Red Onion:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Caramelized Mushrooms:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced (I use a combination of white button and cremini)
1 1/2 tablespoons (4 1/2 teaspoons) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Tostada Shells:
neutral-flavored oil (I used canola)
6 corn tortillas
Kosher salt

For Assembly:
1-1 1/2 cups guacamole
2 tablespoons grated cotija cheese

Pickle the red onion. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt. Allow sugar and salt to dissolve. Place sliced red onion in a jar. Pour vinegar mixture over the top and cover. Let sit for one hour.

Caramelize the mushrooms. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add approximately 1/3 of the sliced mushrooms. Stir occasionally until starting to brown. Move cooked mushrooms to the edge of the pan, and add another 1/3 of the mushrooms. When those are cooked, move them to the side. Brown the last 1/3 of the mushrooms. Sprinkle mushrooms with sugar, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Stir and continue to cook just until sugar melts. Set aside.

Make the tostada shells. Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels. Set aside.

Heat 1/2-inch of canola oil in a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat. Let oil get very hot (mine reached 350F). Working in batches, fry tortillas for 45 seconds-1 minute, until turning golden at the edges. Use tongs to flip tortillas, and let fry for an additional 30-45 seconds, until crisp. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Assemble tostadas. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of guacamole over each tostada shell, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top guacamole with 2-3 tablespoons of caramelized mushrooms. Add a few pieces of pickled red onion. Sprinkle with cotija cheese.

Serve tostadas immediately. Leftover assembled tostadas do not keep well.

Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas

Enchiladas Suizas

As I’ve mentioned before, New York is not the place to live if you love Tex-Mex. Sure, there are plenty of taco and burrito places and many restaurants that claim to serve my native state’s cuisine, but if you want an enchilada plate with rice and refried beans, you’re better off making it yourself.

After being here for two years, I gave up on finding a restaurant that made decent salsa, let alone anything else. I’ve slowly but surely learned to make many of my favorite Tex-Mex dishes at home. I still get homesick for Texas on occasion, but being able to go into my kitchen and make something that tastes familiar and comforting always helps.

Enchiladas SuizasI’ve had many successes over the last seven years (see here, here, and here), but these Enchiladas Suizas are my best homemade Tex-Mex to date. When I dug into a plate of them on Saturday night, I figured they’d be pretty good, but I didn’t expect for them to blow my mind. They were creamy, tangy, and reminded me almost exactly of the enchiladas at my family’s favorite restaurant. I made them again on Sunday, just to see if it had been a fluke, but sure enough, these Enchiladas Suizas are everything I remember and more. So. Good.

Enchiladas SuizasIf you didn’t grow up in North Texas, you may be wondering what Enchiladas Suizas are. The short answer is that they’re chicken enchiladas with a tomatillo-sour cream sauce. The better answer is that they’re heaven on earth.

The sauce is what makes these enchiladas so special. It starts with roasting tomatillos, jalapeƱos, garlic, and onion. Those are blended with cilantro, lime, sour cream, and slightly-thickened chicken stock. The result is a creamy, tangy, spicy magic. Seriously, I could put this stuff on everything.

Enchiladas SuizasOnce the sauce is made, put a little in the bottom of a baking dish and roll the enchiladas. The tortillas are briefly fried to keep them them from tearing during the rolling process. Then each tortilla is topped with shredded chicken, onion, and Monterey Jack cheese before being rolled into a cigar shape and laid seam-side down in the baking dish. Once all the enchiladas are rolled, top them with the rest of the sauce and some more cheese and bake until bubbly. Then eat more than is appropriate because…damn.

If you, like me, are a Texan living elsewhere, these Enchiladas Suizas are a great way to get a taste of home. And if you’re not, well, you’re in for a treat.Enchiladas SuizasEnchiladas Suizas
makes 16 enchiladas

Chicken:*
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Sauce:
1/2-3/4 pound fresh tomatillos, sliced in half
1-2 jalapeƱos, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded (optional)
1/4 small sweet onion, peeled
2 cloves fresh garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For Assembly:
16 corn tortillas
canola oil
1/2 small onion, small diced
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Place chicken breasts and salt in a medium pot. Cover with cold water by two inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate to cool until you can handle it. Shred with two forks or your hands.

Make the sauce. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay tomatillos, jalapeƱos, onion, and garlic on the pan. Drizzle with canola oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 375F.

Heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until a thin paste forms. Whisk in chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

In a high-powered blender, combine roasted vegetables and stock mixture.* Blitz until smooth. Add cilantro, lime juice, sour cream, and salt, and process again.

Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, briefly fry each tortilla for 5 seconds per side before laying on a plate.

Assemble the enchiladas. Grease a large casserole (9×13″) with oil. Pour in 1 cup of sauce and spread it to cover the bottom of the pan. Take tortillas one-by-one, filling them with 3-4 tablespoons of shredded chicken, 1-2 teaspoons of onion, and 1 tablespoon of cheese. Roll them tightly before placing them seam-side down in the prepared pan. Once enchiladas are rolled, top with the additional 2 cups of sauce and any leftover cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is brown and the sauce is bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

1. Alternatively, you may use 4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. Skip the boiling step and go straight to making the sauce.

2. Hot liquids expand while blending. Please be careful!

Enchiladas Suizas

My Favorite Guacamole

 Does anything say game day more than chips and dip? Maybe like…wings, but for the purposes of this blog, let’s go with “no.” You simply can’t have game day without chips and dip! I mean, when it comes down to it, everybody’s mostly there for the food, am I right?!

I mentioned yesterday that football isn’t my thing, but that won’t discourage me from accepting an invitation for a Super Bowl party. Ohhhh no. I’ve got a strategy.

I’ll come over and make nice during the pre-game show, and then while everyone else is yelling at the TV about first downs and safeties, I’ll be in the back demolishing the guacamole I brought for “everyone.” And by “everyone,” I mean “you may all have two bites and the rest is for me, okay?” 

You see, I make ridiculous guacamole. There’s nothing fancy about it–it’s just some vegetables mashed together–but everywhere I take it, it becomes a hit. My friend, David, insists that I make the best guacamole in the world. I don’t know about the world, but how about the best in the four block span between our apartments?

Maybe just my block?

Just my building? Yeah, that sounds reasonable. Let’s go with that.

So, what makes this recipe such a crowd pleaser? It’s all made to taste. Since vegetables are seasonal, and this entire recipe relies on fresh vegetables, the stellar recipe I made in April can taste very blah come October. So taste, taste, taste. 

Start with ripe avocados. They should have a little give when you press the skin lightly with your fingers. If they are super squishy, back away–the insides are probably black and watery. Gross. So grab three ripe avocados. Pit them and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Then dice half a small onion and add that too. You may use red or white here, but red tends to have a stronger flavor. If raw onion isn’t your favorite thing, go for the white variety. Me though? I like raw onion on everything.

Next, dice up a couple of fresh jalapeƱos. If you are sensitive to heat, remove the seeds and ribs with a spoon. Then, dice it up. Regardless of how spicy you like your guacamole, it’s a good idea to taste a tiny piece of the jalapeƱo before adding it to the bowl. If it’s crazy-burn-your-tongue-off hot, maybe only add one full pepper. If it’s mild, go ahead and add two. The batch pictured has two whole large jalapeƱos, one with seeds and ribs, one without. Oh, and a quick reminder to always wash your hands thoroughly after handling hot peppers. And for the love of everything, don’t touch your face! I made that mistake in 2011, and it took an hour to stop burning šŸ˜

Don’t be like me. 

 Anyway, mince up some garlic and add it to the bowl. I like two whole cloves, but if you’re sensitive to raw garlic, only add one. Squeeze in the juice of a lime and sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then, grab a potato masher or a fork and mash the living daylights out of everything until it’s to your desired consistency. Fold in some chopped cilantro and taste and adjust. Need more heat? Add more jalapeƱo! Need more lime? Squeeze another one! Not salty enough? I usually end up adding an additional 1/4 teaspoon, keeping in mind that the chips are salty too. Then put it in a cute bowl and serve it with tortilla chips. 

I know many people like their guacamole with diced tomatoes. I do too, but the February tomatoes I saw at the market yesterday were just too sad to use. If you find some that look good, by all means, use them! I recommend using two or three medium tomatoes that have been seeded. Just dice them the same size as the onion and jalapeƱos.

So, this weekend, make this guacamole and bring it to your Super Bowl party. It may not be the best in the whole world, but it’ll be the best at your get-together šŸ˜Š 

Need more game day food? Check out my Artichoke Dip, Restaurant-Style Salsa, and Double Chocolate Fritos Cookies!

Classic Guacamole
makes about four cups

3 large ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 small red or white onion, diced small
1-2 jalapeƱos, diced small (ribs and seeds removed, optional)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste.
1/4-1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
tortilla chips, for serving

In a large bowl, combine avocados, diced onion and jalapeƱo, minced garlic, lime juice, and salt. Use a potato masher or fork to thoroughly mash all ingredients together. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in cilantro. Transfer guacamole to a serving bowl, and serve immediately with tortilla chips.