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Beef (or Chicken) Fajitas with Peppers and Onions

Updated: Feb 7

A versatile and delicious marinade that transforms flat iron or flank steak into a tender and delicious fajita.
Beef Fajitas with Onions and Peppers
This marinade makes even tough cuts of beef - like Flat Iron or Flank—tender and delicious. The same marinade recipe can be used for beef, chicken or even shrimp.

I found this excellent Beef and Chicken Fajita recipe in Cooking for a Crowd by Susan Wyler 20 years ago. (If you serve large groups, buy this cookbook—it stands the rest of time and is a gem.) I have made a version of this dish at least 50 times, and though I have tweaked it here and there, it is essentially the same recipe all these years later. It is also quite simply the very best marinade I have ever tasted, and when friends or family ask for a special meal, it is always beef fajitas.

To remember the marinade recipe, visualize your solid measuring cup set and use the four basic measuring cups for the wet ingredients—I cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of sherry wine vinegar, 1/3 cup of lime juice and 1/4 cup of olive oil. I remember the following picture, so I never have to look it up.

Best Marinade Ever: Orange Juice, Sherry Vinegar, Lime and EVOO.

To this, I add a couple of cloves of thinly sliced garlic and 1-2 thinly sliced sweet onions. For spice, mix in 1 Tablespoon each of cumin and oregano and a teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper to taste. I will often add some cayenne pepper as well, depending on who is at the table.

The Vinegar

The secret to a good marinade is to use good vinegar, but Spanish sherry vinegar is quite expensive. To beat this, I buy bulk vinegar through Amazon and split it into bottles.

Amazon link to bulk Sherry Vinegar:

For this recipe, you can use good balsamic or red wine vinegar. If you can get your hands on good Spanish sherry vinegar, use this. I have kept a bottle of sherry vinegar around just for this recipe for a couple of decades. But this blog is dedicated to keeping the budget in check, so just use the best vinegar you have.

The Beef

I have often made this recipe using flank steak, but I also frequently use skirt steak. Skirt steak is tougher and is easier to overcook, but it also has the advantage of absorbing the flavor of the marinade more intensely than flank. Recently, I found a great deal on flat iron steak and decided to try it. The results were amazing, and the steak was delicious. Whether you use flank, skirt, or flat iron steak, any of these three cuts are wonderful in this recipe, so look for bargains and buy accordingly.

Once you have mixed ingredients for the marinade, put the meat you wish to marinade in a gallon Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over. Seal the bag and place it within another gallon Ziploc bag immediately ("double bag" your meat and marinade). Put in the refrigerator and marinate beef for up to 24 hours and chicken for up to 6 hours. Shrimp needs only a very quick marinade of an hour or so.

Food Safety

ALWAYS keep different types of protein separate. If you choose to make both beef and chicken fajitas, place the beef in one bag and the chicken in another and pour half of the marinade in each bag and immediately double-bag each. Never serve used marinade on the side, as it has a lot of bacteria from the meat. If you want marinade for dipping or use at the table, reserve some marinade in a safe container and set aside in your refrigerator before you use the remainder for marinating the meat. If it touches meat or chicken, it should be thrown away. Don't taste it and if you touch it, wash your hands.

Peppers and Onions

Cut some fresh, crunchy peppers and white onions and slice them into strips. Once your beef is cooked and resting, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick pan and lightly stir fry them. Don’t overcook your veggies-lightly salt and pepper them and serve.

Sliced Peppers and Onions

When it’s time to cook your fajitas, you can grill them outside or pan grill or fry on top the stove. But be careful-this type of steak is not great if cooked beyond medium rare. You have a couple minutes, tops, depending on your heat source. You can use a meat thermometer or just use your fingers to feel how much “give” the meat has. Medium rare is 135 degrees. Allow your meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before you slice.

Medium Rare sliced against the grain.

Beef (or Chicken) Fajitas with Peppers and Onions

Ingredients ($11.77, serves 4)

Steak Fajitas

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