From Too Many Chefs -

July 17, 2004
Meatless fajitas

fajita Vegetables
We've got another recipe inspired by the Chicago Diner Cookbook - Meatless Fajitas, based on the Chicago Diner's "No Meat-a Fajitas".

Fajita originate with the Mexican ranch hands of south Texas. As the Iowa Beef Industry Council tells us, "fajita" comes from the Spanish word "faja" - belt or girdle. The girdle of the cow (actually the cow's diaphragm) and other less desirable cuts of meat were given to Mexican cattle hands in Texas as partial payment for their work with the cows.

This vegetarian version substitutes seitan for the beef, and achieves a great flavor and texture.

Fajitas with Seitan, based on the Chicago Diner's "No Meat-a Fajitas"
&frac13 cup lemon juice
¼ cup light oil
3 cups water
&frac13 cup tequila
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped parsley
1 jalapeno, seeded, white membrane removed, sliced*
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
2-3 thinly sliced scallions.
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt

*leave the seeds and membranes of the jalapeno intact if you like it hot.

2 tbsp oil
1 white onion, halved, cut in wedges
1 green bell pepper, deseeded, cut in strips
1 red bell pepper, deseeded, cut in strips
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut in strips
2 portabello mushroom caps, cut in &frac13 strips
16 oz. seitan, cut into strips
1 16 oz. jar salsa - your choice

flour tortillas

Mix the marinade ingredients together. The original calls for the marinade to be blended together. I prefer to whisk, and leave the aromatics intact. Put the mushrooms and seitan in the marinade and let sit for at leat an hour or overnight.

seitan in marinade

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a BIG skillet over medium-high heat. If you don't have a really big skillet, you may need to do this recipe in batches in the skillet you do own. Even in a big skillet, you may feel like you don't have much room to work with until the vegetables start to collapse from the heat. Keep going, you'll get room.

When the oil starts to shimmer, add the seitan. Fry the seitan in the skillet until it begins to take on some brown color. Add the mushrooms, peppers, and onion and stir to mix the vegetables with the seitan. Cook for two minutes. Add the salsa.

Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are al dente or a little crisp, but mostly softened.

Serve in tortillas with a cold margarita on the rocks.

fajitas in the skillet

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at July 17, 2004 9:40 AM | TrackBack

Don't forge the sour cream and the sliced tomatoes. My favorite parts of the fajita.

Did your darling doctor take that picture? It looks appetizing.

Posted by Bryan on July 17, 2004 at 10:47 AM

Oddly, no. Somehow, I tripped over a cat on the way to the table, causing the camera to fly thorugh the air, and somehow taking this remarkably appetizing photo.

Who knew?

Posted by Barrett on July 17, 2004 at 11:26 PM

Well that explains some of your earlier photographic attemps...

Posted by Meg in Paris on July 18, 2004 at 6:41 AM

So by analogy is seitan the less desirable type of meat substitute?

Fajitas only really got big in the 80s with the move to feed lot fattened beef. The fajita cut became much more desirably then.

Robb Walsh, who just wrote a book on Tex-Mex, is participating in a forum at eGullet this week.

Posted by Frolic on July 19, 2004 at 5:18 PM

Depends on what part of the wheatloaf you cut the strips from, I guess.

Only trained gluten-wranglers, or wheatboys, should approach a downed gluten-blob. They're most dangerous when they're injured.

Posted by Barrett on July 19, 2004 at 8:56 PM