Fajitas, a Tex-Mex standard, are thought to have been introduced in southern Texas in their current form in 1969. A earlier Mexican version of this dish was called “Arrachera,” another name for skirt steak. “Fajita” is the Tejano (Texans of Mexican descent) word for the little strips of meat cut from the skirt, originally considered to be in the same class as beef heads and other “throw away” parts of the cow given to vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) as part of their pay. It wasn’t until restaurants enhanced the recipe for grilled arrachera with more spices and marinades, and added onions and bell peppers, did this dish begin to become popular.
Restaurants started serving fajitas on sizzling platters with choices for chicken, shrimp, and other cuts in Austin in 1969, the dish has become incredibly popular and synonymous with Tex-Mex cuisine. You may not able to to recreate the joy of being at a restaurant and having a sizzling platter of hot meat placed in front of you for all to see like a true king or queen, but you can try! Make your own fresh flour tortillas to enhance the experience.
Tex-Mex Fajitas – Grilled Chicken or Beef Strips with Onions and Peppers
- Large skillet
- Small bowl
- 3 large Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (for chicken fajitas)
- 2 lbs Skirt steak or flank steak (for steak fajitas)
- 1 large Onion, cut into ½-inch slices
- 3 large Bell peppers of mixed colors, cleaned and cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 large Jalapeno pepper, stem, ribs, and seeds removed, sliced crossways
- 2 tbsp Cooking oil
- 1 medium Lime
- For serving – warmed white tortillas, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole or sliced avocado and sour cream Homemade: White Tortillas, Pico de gallo,
Chicken Fajita Seasonings
- 2 tsp Each: chili powder, ground cumin
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- ½ tsp Each: salt, oregano, black pepper, paprika
Beef Fajitas Marinade
- ⅓ cup Lime juice
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp Soy sauce
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tsp Each: ancho chili powder and ground cumin
- 1 tsp Each: salt, paprika, and black pepper
Marinated Steak (if making steak fajitas)
- Prepare Steak – Combine all the marinade ingredients in a gallon size seal top plastic bag. Place steak in bag and seal. Let steak marinade in the refrigerator for a few hours and ideally overnight. Remove from refrigerator and heat a cast iron skillet over high heat for a few minutes to get hot. Drain marinade from steak and pat it dry. Cook steak in hot skillet for 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove and let sit a few minutes under a tin foil tent and then slice into thin ¼-inch slices at an angle.3 large Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (for chicken fajitas), 2 lbs Skirt steak or flank steak (for steak fajitas), 2 tbsp Cooking oil, ⅓ cup Lime juice, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp Soy sauce, 4 cloves Garlic, minced, 3 tbsp Olive oil, 2 tsp Each: ancho chili powder and ground cumin, 1 tsp Each: salt, paprika, and black pepper
Seasoned Chicken (if making chicken fajitas)
- Prepare Chicken – Combine all the fajita seasonings in a small bowl. Cover both sides of the chicken breast with all the fajita seasoning, Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear chicken breasts for about 7-8 minutes per side. Remove to a plate to rest a few minutes and then slice chicken into ½-inch strips1 tsp Garlic powder, ½ tsp Each: salt, oregano, black pepper, paprika, 2 tsp Each: chili powder, ground cumin
- Cook Vegetables – Saute vegetables in the same skillet over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes. Stir often. Cook less for crispier vegetables, longer for softer.1 large Onion, cut into ½-inch slices, 3 large Bell peppers of mixed colors, cleaned and cut into ½-inch slices, 1 large Jalapeno pepper, stem, ribs, and seeds removed, sliced crossways
- Finish Fajitas – Add chicken or beef back into skillet with vegetables. Squeeze in lime juice and mix everything together. Serve immediately with warm tacos and any combination of pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole.,1 medium Lime, For serving – warmed white tortillas, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole or sliced avocado and sour cream
- Onions, peppers, and chicken may be prepared a few days in advance and finished cooking before serving.
- Cooked fajitas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.