Smoky Bison Fajitas

Fajitas.jpgIf you're one of those people that's constantly looking for ways to reduce the fat and cholesterol in your diet and if you love fajitas, this recipe is going to knock you right off your feet.  These fajitas are low in fat and cholesterol, high in vitamins and iron, and good for you from the ground up.  And even better than all that, they're absolutely quick and inexpensive to make.   What could be better than quick, easy and inexpensive? The recipe calls for bison sirloin.  If you like more decadent fajitas try a strip steak or ribeye.  Yes, I suppose you could probably use beef, or even chicken (gasp,) but with all the health benefits of bison, why would you want to?  As far as vegetables, if you can buy organic where you live go for it.  The rich flavors will be worth the extra cost.  I'll warn you in advance, if you haven't been deep into Mexico these smoky bison fajitas will be unlike any you have ever eaten before.  The rich earthy flavors will have your family asking for them again and again. We'll start by listing ingredients and explaining why we're using what we're using so you can make a truly authentic food.  If it's okay to make a substitution, we'll indicate it.  If not, we'll let you know that as well.  The recipe is designed to feed four people.  If your group is bigger than that, increase the ingredients proportionally.  So let's get started.  Oh, and be sure to let us know what you think. Ingredients:
  •  1  Tbs   Smoked Paprika
    • Don't use regular paparika in this recipe.  This is the only thing that will do.
  •   1  Tbs    Chili Powder
    • You can use garden variety chili powder, but chances are if you do you will wonder why your food doesn't taste like the food you've eaten in Mexico.  If you go to Amazon.com and search for chili powder you will find several gourmet varieties, all of which will give you more authentic results than what you get in the store.
  •   6 cloves fresh garlic  
    • Any fresh garlic will do.
  •   2  Tbs. butter
    • Most people cook with unsalted butter, but if the only butter you have is salted, cook with that.  Just be mindful when you season your fajitas that the butter has already provided some salt.
  •   2    Limes (we'll use just the juice)
    •    You need to use the "key" limes where possible (the little ones about the size of a golf ball.  If you can't find those you can use a bigger lime, but don't substitute lemon.  Mexican food NEVER includes lemon.  (Even lemonade is made from limes.)
  •   1    7oz. can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
    • These peppers are more smoky than hot, so you don't need to be afraid.  We're not actually going to use the peppers, we're going to use the sauce.  The brand is not important, but make sure whatever you buy contains adobo sauce (since that's what we're going to use.)  These are usually found in the Mexican section of the supermarket.
  •   3  Bell peppers
    • Most people pick one red, one orange, and one green pepper.  We use all three because the three colors look nice on the plate and the flavors are slightly different.  Use whatever your family likes.  This is not critical.
  • 1  Onion
    •   Again, don't worry too much about this.  In Mexico it's very common to see white onions in fine dining establishments.  But get out in the country and you're likely to see whatever they have.  Yellow onions (like vidalia) add a nice sweetness and the red onions add some kick.  Use whatever you have or whatever you like.  Or mix and match.  This isn't critical.
  •   1  8oz Bison sirloin steak
    • As we pointed out above, you could use strip or ribeye steaks, but typically fajitas are made with cheaper cuts of meat.  This much meat will comfortably feed four people when combined with the veggies.  If your family likes more meat, you could add another steak without breaking the budget.
  •   1  Package Tortillas, warmed!
    • In Mexico, these would be served on fresh, hot, corn tortillas.  If you like corn tortillas, buy the white corn not yellow corn variety.  If you like flour tortillas, look in the refrigerated case and see if you can find flour tortillas that are mixed and pressed, but not yet cooked.  Simply put them, one at a time, in a very hot pan and cook for about 20-30 seconds per side, or until they start to bubble.  Then put them in a large bowl or basket with towels wrapped around them to keep them warm.
  Directions: Cut the bison sirloin steak into 1/4" by 1/4" by 2-3" pieces and place in a zip lock bag. Add 2 tbs. of adobo from the chipotle chilis (or whatever you can get from the can,) t0 the meat.  Squeeze the juice of one lime over the meat and adobo mixture.  Crush 3 cloves of garlic and add to the bag.  Salt and pepper to taste (don't get too crazy on the salt, as the adobo has some salt already.  Taste before salting!)  Close the bag, mix well by tumbling and squeezing the bag, and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours (over night is better.)  One hour before cooking, take the meat mixture from the refrigerator and place on the counter so it can come to room temperature before cooking. Julienne the peppers and onion and place in a zip lock bag.  Add the smoky paprika and the chili powder.  Crush 3 cloves of garlic and add to the bag.  Squeeze one key lime over the contents of the bag.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Close the bag and mix well.  Refrigerate with the meat for at least four hours.  Remove from the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking to allow veggies to come to room temperature before cooking.  Remove the garlic from the bag before dumping the contents into the pan. Start by heating the pan over medium high heat.  Add the butter when the pan is hot.  The butter will melt very quickly.  As soon as it melts add the steak strips and keep them moving in the pan.  You can add as much or as little of the adobo sauce as you like.  It's customary to take the meat and leave most of the adobo behind.  Don't obsess about this and scrape off all the adobo.  Just pull out the meat with whatever is on the meat and leave the rest in the bag. NOTE:  These strips are very small and very thin and will cook almost immediately.  When the outside is brown they are done and should be removed from the heat.  This whole process will take all of about 30-60 second, so don't leave the stove once you put this meat in.  You should be aware that bison meat is very high in iron, and if you cook it too much it will begin to taste like liver.  We're going to put them back into the pan for just a minute when the veggies are nearly done, so don't fret that the meat is under-cooked.  It's almost impossible to under-cook meat sliced this small. After removing the meat, add the veggies to the pan.  Just like the meat, they are in very thin strips and will cook very rapidly.  Don't overcook!  They aren't supposed to be soft.  They're supposed to be crunchy.  If they are warm all the way through, they're done.  This process takes betwen 1-3 minutes. After the veggies are warm, we're going to add the meat back in for 1 minute (do not exceed one minute) to make sure everything is uniformly warmed up.  Serve hot over warmed corn (preferred) or flour tortillas. Let us know how you like these fajitas.  Done right, they're the best example of quick, easy, healthy.. low-cost food there is.

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