In the town of Corrales, New Mexico, there is a beautifully decorated and lovingly cared for adobe house. From the back patio above the terraced yard, one can sit and watch the clouds pass through the Sandia Mountains or a roadrunner and rattlesnake stand off. It is New Mexico after all.
My friend, Sandy, lives here and while we only see each other every few years, a cooking frenzy always begins shortly after my arrival. Rather, I should say New Mexican cooking lessons for me.
Sandy has taught me there is a definite difference between a fajita prepared in New Mexico verses those made in Texas or Mexico based on the use of certain chili peppers. In New Mexico, it is the New Mexican Ancho chili peppers. Deep red to purple in color, they provide the backbone flavor of many dishes. It was this lesson that provided the inspiration for this entrée.
The recipe stays true to the New Mexican cooking flavors with the addition of Penzeys Spices Ground Ancho Chili Peppers. Then veers sideway a bit with the rolling of the filled tortillas. This provides a means for guests to enjoy all the flavors of a fajita without the mess of the sauce dribbling down the arms. I think Sandy would agree.
This entrée definitely has the New Mexican influence. Add Penzeys Spices Ground Ancho Chili Peppers to the fajita seasoning for the most authentic taste. Simply prepared, it combines the spice infused steak with a sauté of sweet red peppers and sweet onion.
Serve with Grilled Onion Avocado Guacamole, Lewis Flats Road Sweet Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo and lime laced sour cream.
Continue the blended New Mexico/Mexico theme by serving Lewis Flat Road Sweet Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo with fresh tortilla crisps and El Dorado Shrimp as appetizers. With an entree this bold, an equally bold but complementary side is required. Charred Creamed Onions uses ground ancho chili peppers and bourbon to create such boldness. Finish with a smooth and creamy Puerto Palomas Mexican Chocolate Flan for dessert.
From Pete Astudillo to La Mafia with Las Fenix for a modern twist, this playlist is all about the Southwest. Make yourself a tequila cocktail or pour a glass of wine and tune in while preparing dinner. You may just find yourself shuffling across the kitchen floor with a few Salsa steps!
1 sirloin steak, about 1 1/2 pounds and 3/4 inches thick
½ c Fajita seasoning of choice
1 t Penzeys Spices Ground Ancho Chili Peppers
2 medium red bell peppers, deseeded and sliced thin
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
Eight 8” flour tortillas
1 c sour cream
1 T fresh lime juice
2 t fresh chives, chopped
Heat grill to medium high for direct heat grilling.
Trim visible fat from edges of the steak. Pound lightly with a meat mallet. Combine the fajita seasoning mix and the Ancho chili in a small bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon. Rub rub remaining onto both sides of the steak. Let rest for 30-45 minutes.
Brush grill grate with olive oil. Place steak on grill. Do not close lid. Cook for 4 minutes over direct heat. Turn and cook an additional 4 minutes.
Remove steak from grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Slice steak into strips, cutting against the grain.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the peppers and onions and sauté until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the sliced steak and the reserved tablespoon of fajita mix. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes until the meat and vegetables are coated with the mix.
Heat the tortillas over an open gas oven burner or in the microwave.
Heat oven to broil. Evenly distribute the steak mix between the 8 tortillas. Wrap tightly by folding in sides and rolling up. Place rolled fajitas on a sided baking sheet.
Cut 4-5 slits across the top of each fajita roll. Place in oven under broiler for 2-3 minutes to toast the top. Remove from oven.
Place 2 tortillas on each of 4 plates. Cover with Pico de Gallo and Guacamole. Combine sour cream and lime juice. Divide between small bowls. Top with chives and serve with fajitas.
El Dorado Cocktail is a refreshing blend of lemon juice, honey and tequila. Made my way adds a splash of soda water to brighten the flavors!
South of the Border
A cocktail made for after a spicy dinner. Coffee brandy and tequila with a hint of lime juice come together to provide a mellow evening drink.
For some reason, it seems most people look for beer when dining on entrees with heat. With a spicy meal, look for a wheat beer. They have a brightness but their sweetness helps to counter the acid of the lime and the intensity of the heat. St Bernardus Witbier is an excellent complement to this meal.
If your guests are looking to counter the heat of the fajitas, serve a maltier brew. Scuttlebutt Homeport Blonde has a soft malt flavor to provide relief from the heat without overpowering the dish.
The hearty spicy beef entree requires a wine strong enough to withstand the heat without taking away from the flavors of the meal. Jadot Volnay Clos de la Barre, 2012 provides ample structure and a strong enough finish to enjoy the flavors of the entree as well as the wine.
If serving a white wine, stay with a dry Reisling such as Bassermann-Jordan Trocken Jesuitengarten, 2013. The citric notes plus a creamy finish make this an excellent choice for those white wine guests.
Lewis Flats Road Sweet Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo takes full advantage of the sweetness and low acidity of yellow tomatoes to counter any heat from the jalapeño. Served with fresh tortilla crisps, it makes the perfect entry into an evening of New Mexico and Mexico influenced dishes.
El Dorado Shrimp replicate the El Dorado cocktail in an appetizer form. Shrimp, honey, lemon juice and tequila create an easy to make, full flavored start to any meal.
Puerto Palomas Mexican Chocolate Flan is an excellent ending to a Southwestern dinner. Creamy, deeply chocolate with a hint of cinnamon and chili pepper, this dessert serves well with an intense cup of coffee.
Charred Creamed Onions provide a bold flavor to complement the heat of the fajitas. Creamy and smoky is the only way to describe this side dish of pearl onions and cream.