When I lived on my own in college I had to cook for myself. Now, I did a fair amount of cooking during high school. I often cooked dinner for my family because when they were done working full time, they had to take care of farm chores. Also, as a teenage male, I was eating massive amounts of food. I would have to cook my own midday meals and second breakfasts.
When I was in college I started trying new things, and started coming up with my own recipes. One of the first recipes I came up with was my fajita recipe. Eventually, I started lighting it on fire during the cooking process. I did this to impress the ladies. I can’t comment on how successful it was. The reason I called the fajitas “Ferris’ Famous Flaming Fajitas” is because when I was clean shaven, I was told that I looked like Mathew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The recipe is very easy, and having tequila helps.
The Dashing Son loves fajitas (he doesn’t get tequila), even though he hates onions and bell peppers. We just tell him they are snap dragons and dongle strips, and thinks they taste just fine.
Ferris’ Famous Flaming Fajitas – the whole process (aside from marinating) takes about 45 minutes, including preparation.
- 8 oz of chicken breasts (1 boneless skinless breast) or steak – cut in to thin (1/4-1/2 inch or 1 cm thick) strips.
- Olive oil
- 1 ½ oz (1 shot) of tequila (for the marinade – you can have more) – optional. Also, don’t use silver tequila, it doesn’t have as much flavor.
- Garlic minced – one clove will be okay, I use a lot because I like garlic.
- Juice from one lime (fresh is better, but the bottled stuff is okay)
- 1 tbsp fajita seasoning (I also add 1 tsp each of cumin and chili powder, plus ½ tsp of cayenne or chipotle pepper)
- 1 medium to large onion (I prefer red) – sliced into strips.
- 1 medium to large bell pepper (I prefer non green, i.e. red, yellow, orange) –sliced into strips
Note: I usually double this recipe, and use different colored onions and different colored peppers to make it look pretty.
The first thing to do is marinade the meat, try to get at least an hour of marinating, but overnight would be better. Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil, tequila, garlic, and seasonings in a plastic bag or glass container. Add the meat and let it sit. In the last hour, add the juice of half the lime. If you do this sooner, the acid in the lime juice will “cook” the meat and it will not cook as well.
If you do not have a smooth top or ceramic stove, use a cast iron skillet if you have one. It cooks it better. If you have a smooth top stove, the cast iron will scratch your stove, so use a sauce pan or even a wok to cook the food. Add some olive oil to the pan, and turn the heat on high. “All the way up to 11.”
Note: if you double the batch, be sure your skillet can handle the volume, or you will be spilling food everywhere.
Once the pan is hot, dump the meat in the pan. Be careful, that oil is hot and it will probably spatter. Quickly stir the meat around so it doesn’t burn on side, or stick to the pan. Once the meat is browned, toss in the veggies. Keep stirring until the veggies start turning clear. They will cook down and start releasing a lot of liquid, which will pool at the bottom.
If you have a gas stove with the cast iron skillet, you may not have any pooling of liquid at the bottom of your pan. If you do, try to push the veggies to the sides of the pan and boil off the liquid. Once the liquid is mostly gone, start stirring again to start charing the food. That blackened, burnt flavor adds to the fajitas. Just don’t go overboard with it. Once it is mostly done, I toss in the juice of the other half of the lime and stir that in.
Once it is almost done, if you want, you can toss in a half shot of tequila and light it. Be forewarned, tequila is flammable, but it burns in a low blue flame, that is hard to see. So, turn the lights down low, make sure your hair is back, sleeves are rolled up, there is nothing else flammable nearby, there is a fire extinguisher close at hand, and use a long lighter. Be careful when you stir, or you might burn all the hair off of your hands. FYI, this doesn’t add any additional flavor to the fajitas, it is strictly show, and I haven’t done this trick in over 12 years. Mainly because I have burned my hands too many times, and I am married and I do other things to impress my wife, like vacuuming.
I serve my fajitas on flour tortillas with some cheese, cilantro, sour cream, and salsa. I usually just roll up the tortilla and eat them like a burrito. Have some chips and salsa on the side with a margarita, or a Negro Modello (my personal favorite Mexican beer).