It's A Keeper: My Sister Ria's Favorite Fajitas

I don't have a sister named Ria (in fact, I don't have a sister at all), but Rachael Ray does and she named this recipe after her. The recipe for My Sister Ria's Favorite Fajitas was on the Hall of Fame on the side of my fridge from way back in the early days of my cooking career. I swear these are better than anything you'll get in a restaurant.

You can find this recipe in the old classic - 30-Minute Meals. I like this recipe so much that when you open my copy of 30-Minute Meals, it opens to the pages with this recipe on it.

There's not really a recipe for the pico de gallo salsa that you put on top. Rachael just says that you mix finely chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno or serrano, mint, cilantro, and salt. You just put in as much as you like of each ingredient. I omitted the mint and added garlic. Woooweee, it was a treat. The fact that the onions, jalapenos and cilantro were from my local farmers market made it even better. Make sure you get some tortilla chips at the store for the leftovers (Tia Rosa Megathin chips are my new fav).

The recipe on the Food Network's website is pretty different from the one in the cookbook. It includes rice and beans, but since it was hot out, I was feeling like something lighter. I made some green beans sauteed in EVOO with garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Normally though, I'd probably go for the rice and beans.

Here's the recipe from the 30-Minute Meals cookbook with my comments in brackets:

My Sister Ria's Favorite Fajitas

4 Servings

2 tablespoons liquid cayenne pepper sauce (Red Hot or Tabasco)
2 tablespoons ground cumin (half a palmful)
1 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons chili powder (half a palmful)
A handful fresh oregano and thyme leaves combined, the yield of 3 or 4 stems each
1/2 bottle beer [I usually use Corona, but this time I used what was on sale - Lincoln Lager from our local Beerman's Brewery]
A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

The Guts:
1.5 pounds flank steak, or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 pieces) [I'm not sure what she means by 8 pieces, since that seems like way to much chicken for 4 servings. I would just buy four chicken breast pieces.]
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, cut in half and then into 1/2 inch strips [Apparently, a Spanish onion is a sweeter yellow onion. The Cook's Thesaurus says you can substitute red onions, which is what I did, since they were available at the Farmers Market.]
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 poblano chile, cut into strips (If none are available in your market, use Cubanelle Italian long peppers) [I was lucky and found Cubanelles at the Farmers Market. My market usually doesn't sell either kind, so I buy an extra green or yellow one.]
Salt and pepper, to taste

The topping:
Pico de gallo, the peck of the rooster, is fresh salsa made of only finely chopped tomato, serrano or jalapeno chilies, minced onion, cilantro, mint, and salt. The mint curbs the bitterness of the cilantro. [I'm just not a fan of mint, so I curbed the bitterness of the cilantro with a couple cloves of garlic.]

The wraps:
8 small, 6-inch flour tortillas or 4 large 9- to 12- inch tortillas [I use whole wheat to make the meal healthier]

Mix all marinade ingredients together.

Coat the meat or poultry in the marinade and let it hang out. Heat two pans, a nonstick griddle to high, a nonstick frying pan to medium high. [I use the outdoor grill instead of the griddle.] Drizzle the frying pan with oil. Cook the onions, peppers, and chiles, with an occasional shake, until they darken around the edges, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn off heat. [My husband informed me that he likes his veggies firm, so I cooked them a little less. Hey, at least he's getting involved, right?]

Drop meat or chicken onto the very hot griddle pan or a second skillet. [Or throw it on the grill, let it rest a few minutes, and skip the rest of the steps for the meat.] Sear for two minutes on each side. Remove from heat. Slice very thin, on the bias, and return strips to griddle to brown and cook through. Drop cutting board and knife into sink to sanitize.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Fill with sizzling meat and chicken, veggies, and a scoop or two of Pico de Gallo. Wrap and chow down. Serve up to 4 with refried beans and beverage of choice (margaritas or mockaritas are not a bad choice). [The fajitas are really filling, so you don't need much more than the beans or some veggies. Well, and the margaritas.]


  1. I also think that cilantro is bitter, so I use parsley. But your idea of using garlic is great. Incidently, your cousin Colin (still no college decision)doesn't like cilantro either...genetic?

  2. I don't like cilantro, either! Gives me a bad taste in my mouth for days after. It must be genetic!!

  3. BTW, ERR readers, that's my uncle and my cousin! You know, I can't really make up my mind about cilantro. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don't.

    Maybe we should all be studied for science.


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