Fajitas have always intimidated me.
The few times I attempted to fix fajitas were failures. The flavor was lack-luster, the sauce was thin, and the meat was tough! (You know what I’m talking about – you take one bite and the meat will not tear apart so you’re left swallowing half your fajita without chewing just so you can breath.) I gave it up trying for several years, but as I began to learn more about home-cooked meals I wanted to try again.
And I’m so glad I did! This is my husband’s favorite meal. He says he salivates thinking about it, and I honestly believe it – that’s how good these are.
There are several simple secrets to making great fajitas: searing the steaks instead of cooking, using a cast iron skillet to heat evenly, and adding corn starch to thicken the sauce. I didn’t find these secrets in any recipe, they’re just things that I kept trying and messing with things until it came out right. It took a lot of work! But now I can proudly pass on the recipe so that you can avoid the trial-and-error process I went through. Check out at how scrumptious it looks:
Okay… I have to admit this picture was taken after I realized we were almost done with the meal! Haha, this recipe will make so much more than this. But my husband and I finished it off ourselves – that’s how amazing it is.
Steak: Choose a steak that is lean, boneless, and relatively thin. (I personally prefer sirloin and eye of round.)
Veggies: I like an assortment of peppers – red, orange, yellow, green – and a red onion, although any onion will do.
Seasoning: You can buy it from a package, but I always use this recipe and love it (it’s make with spices you most likely already own).
Cheese: Fresh shredded colby-jack cheese is my favorite.
Condiments: Sour cream and salsa. Yum.
Shells: I just purchase some Guerrero fajita shells from Walmart, but if you’re really in the mood, you can make your own. (I personally can’t tell much of a difference.)
Set out your steak 10-20 minutes before cooking, longer for thicker steaks, salting and peppering both sides. I learned this tip from Gordon Ramsey, and he knows what he’s talking about right. I usually set it out when I begin slicing my onions and peppers.
Also begin heating a medium cast-iron skillet on high. Coat the bottom with olive oil.
That’s it for prep – how about that?!
Once the pan is heated, you’re ready to sear the steak. Be sure to have a cutting board ready to place these on afterward, because everything is going to happen fast. If you have a grease screen, get that out too!
With steaks that are about 1/2 in thick, sear for about 30 seconds on each side. We are going for undercooked, because when we add them back in later, they will cook a bit more. (We do not want tough steak.)
Remove and place on cutting board to rest. Turn the heat down to medium, toss in your veggies, and cover with a lid, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cut the steaks with a sharp knife into thin strips. Stir and check the veggies until they are cooked to your preferred crispness.
Once finished, toss strips of meat back in with peppers and onions.
Lastly, add your fajita seasoning. If it seems the sauce is a bit runny, add a teaspoon or two of cornstarch to thicken it up. (Beware, adding too much cornstarch will give a slightly grainy texture.)
That is it. I swear to you, there is nothing else to do. I love this meal because it is so easy and minimal dishes to clean. My husband loves this meal because it is delicious. Oh and my evening loves this meal because I have more time to do other things!
After mastering this recipe with steaks, I decided to try it with chicken as well.
Let me tell you, it is just as amazing! The process is extremely similar, with the exception that you may want to cook your chicken a bit longer than steak, which does add to the cook time.
Another tasty change to the original recipe is to add pre-cooked rice. I use this trick if I’m trying to stretch the meal to feed more people, or if I have less base ingredients. The rice absorbs some of the juice and flavor in the skillet, so I do not add any corn starch here.
- 1 lb of steak (suggested: sirloin or eye of round)
- 3-4 medium bell peppers
- 1 large red onion
- Olive oil
- Fajita seasoning
- Soft tortilla shells
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheese
- Salt the eye of round steak(s) lightly and set out (covered) for at least 15 minutes before cooking.
- Meanwhile, cut 3-4 bell peppers and 1 red onion into strips.
- Coat a medium cast iron skillet with olive oil and place on medium high heat. Once pan is heated, add steaks and sear on each side for approximately 30 seconds. Repeat until all are seared.
- Turn down heat to medium, and coat the pan again with olive oil. Toss in pepper and onion slices, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cut the steaks with a sharp knife into thin strips.
- Once the veggies have reached your desired crispness, toss strips of steak back in with peppers and onions and add 2 tbsp of fajita seasoning. Continue cooking for approximately 5 minutes.
- Serve with small soft tortillas, sour cream, salsa, and freshly shredded cheese.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do, and please feel free to give me feedback or ask questions. Also, share any variants you create, I’d love to hear from you!