Beef Fajitas with Poblano Peppers, Bell Peppers and Onions

Fast and healthy dinners for the family are no Poblano, especially when loading it with lots of nutritious bell peppers, Poblano peppers, and onions. You can bump the nutritional value of this meal even further by serving it with homemade guacamole, made from nutrient dense and heart-healthy avocadoes.

You may already know that bell peppers are high in vitamin C, but did you know that Poblano peppers are high in vitamins A, B6 and B2? Vitamin A, is an antioxidant that protects the body from oxidative stress and prevents macular degeneration, a condition which can lead to blindness as we age. Studies show that vitamin B6 affects memory and brain function, including our mood and concentration. This is because vitamin B6 is necessary for the production of norepinephrine and serotonin which controls our mood and concentration. A deficiency of B6 contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B2 helps to prevent and treat anemia.

Poblano pepper also contains capsaicin, which gives the pepper its heat, although it’s relatively mild, especially if you remove all the seeds. Capsaicin has many health benefits, including increased metabolism and appetite suppression, which contributes to a decrease in body weight.

Another compelling reason to include Poblano peppers in this recipe is that its mild heat and flavor contributes nicely to all the complex flavors in this dish.

What I also like about fajitas is that it stretches the quantity of protein. The proper portion of protein is about the size of a deck of cards. If your habit is to consume a larger portion of protein, you may feel unsatisfied. Loading up with veggies, guacamole and pico de gallo is a tasty way to fill the belly and create a new habit of protein portion control.

* NOTE:  What’s the difference between skirt, flank or flap steak? Check out https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-flank-steak-and-skirt-steak-meat-basics-212263  for the lesson on skirt versus flank. As for flap steak, which is also called sirloin tip, this was recommended to me by the butcher because they didn’t have skirt steak when I tested this recipe. The flank steak they had seemed fatty and the butcher said he’d prefer to have a fajita made from flap steak anyways because it’s the cut below the sirloin and in his opinion, tastier. I took his word for it. If you are reading this, I’m curious if you have an opinion on skirt versus flank versus flap steak?

Serving size: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1 1/4 pounds of skirt, flank or flap steak (also called sirloin tip)*
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lime
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup of olive oil + enough olive oil to coat peppers and onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 2-3 bell peppers, depending on size (red, yellow and orange), sliced thinly
  • 2 Poblano peppers, seeds removed and sliced thinly
  • 1 small or ½ large yellow onion, sliced
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed (we like to wrap our tortillas in foil and warm it in a preheated oven set at 250F)
  • pico de gallo or J’Wow’s Salsa (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • sliced Jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • homemade guacamole (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the marinade by whisking together orange juice, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, cumin, chili, coriander, oregano and salt together. Place the steak in a ziplock bag and pour the marinade over the steak. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the meat to ensure it’s evenly distributed. Marinade the beef in the refrigerator for at least an hour but longer is better.
  2. In a separate bowl, drizzle olive oil over the onions and peppers. Season with a pinch of Kosher salt.
  3. Allow the meat to come to room temperature before cooking.
  4. Heat a grill skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the grill with vegetable oil unless using a non-stick skillet. Cook the meat for about 4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Then place the meat on a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
  5. While the meat rests, add the peppers and onions to the grill pan and cook until the veggies start to brown and soften. Alternatively, you can sauté the veggies in a cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillets are a great way to add iron to your diet.
  6. Just before the vegetables are finished, slice the meat thinly, on an angle and against the grain.
  7. Serve with warm tortillas with your choice of pico de gallo, salsa, homemade guacamole, sour cream and Jalapeno peppers. We enjoyed our fajitas with pico de gallo and homemade guacamole.

Poblano peppers are relatively mild, especially if unripened (green) and de-seeded and de-veined. When allowed to ripen and turn red, then dried, it is called “Ancho” The green version adds a mild and interesting flavor to the fajitas.

Skirt, flank and flap cuts of beef can be chewy. Marinading in an acid, like orange and lime juices, helps to break down some of connective tissue and membrane. Cutting the meat after resting it for about 10 minutes, on an angle and against the grain tenderizes the meat. This is what it looks like to cut with the grain. The acid in the marinade did it’s job and tenderized the meat but it was definitely chewier than the piece of meat in the photo below.
Here is what it looks like to cut against the grain. Hmm, tender and juicy.

I often enjoy fajitas without the tortilla, which turns it into a low carb dinner.

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