Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Fajitas

I cooked inside last night but had a good excuse.  Knoxville was hit with record setting rain falls in just 2 hours yesterday resulting in flash floods across the city.  Here is Tenth Creek, which bisects our neighborhood.  Normally this part of the creek is small enough you can step across it in most points.

On the pond side, the island was underwater and I think the sign on the bridge might say, "NOTICE - When You Can't Read This Sign, Bridge Is Under Water"

Here is the earthen dam at the end of the pond.  As you can see, the water level got to the very top of the dam but fortunately both the overflow drain and the spillway both kept functioning.

The reason I bring this up is that other areas of Knoxville were hit much harder and the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee lost their entire warehouse of food.  Second Harvest feeds more than 150,000 people in 18 counties every month and this loss is a major blow to already strained resources.  If you can, PLEASE CONSIDER GIVING SECOND HARVEST A CASH DONATION TODAY.   Thanks for helping if you can.

Pork Tenderloin Fajitas
source:  NibbleMeThis
serves 4

1 pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2" x 1/2" x 2" strips (smaller than your pinky)
2/3 cup red & yellow bell peppers, sliced thin
1/3 cup red onion, sliced thin
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
4 flour tortiallas

Three Way Fajita Marinade
3 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup beer or tequilla
2 cloves garlic 
1 1/2 tsp season salt (I used Tony Chachere's)
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp McCormick's Roasted Cumin
1/2 tsp McCormick's Chipolte Chile Powder (sub cayenne if you need to)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 Tbsp roasted red bell pepper, chopped  

Veggie Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp Three Way Fajita marinade
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp oil
salt and pepper to taste

Ranchita Sauce
3/4 cup ranch dressing
2 Tbsp Three Way Fajita Marinade 

Toppings:  Cheese, salsa, etc

The thing I like about this recipe (a slight variation of my normal fajita marinade) is that it uses the marinade three different ways.  Process all the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender until all of the solid ingredients are well blended in.

Reserve your 3 Tbsp of Three Way Fajita Marinade.  Marinade the pork strips in the remaining marinade for 2-4 hours.   Mix the Ranchita Sauce and refrigerate.  Make the vinaigrette by whisking the oil into the other ingredients.  Toss veggies in the vinaigrette and chill. 

To cook fajitas inside, you want a very hot cast iron pan.  I preheat mine in a 400f oven for 15 minutes.  Then put it on your stove top on high.  Many gas range tops have what is called a "power burner", use that one if you have one.  

Remove the pork from the marinade, shake off the excess, and place in the pan, trying not to crowd the pieces.  Cook for 6-8 minutes.  Remove from pan.  

Cook the veggie mix for 1-2 minutes until wilted.  I like mine with a little texture so pull them out after a minute.

Divide the meat and veggie mixtures between the 4 tortillas.  Top each with a few squirts of the ranchita sauce and whatever toppings you like. 

The slightly crispy veggies, the tender pork, and bold flavor of the three way marinade made these fajitas excellent.....even if they were cooked inside! 


  1. Chris- I saw the coverage of Knoxville on the national news last night. I can tell from the news and also your pictures that you got hit pretty bad there. I hope that your home is safe and sound and I am sorry to hear about the food bank.

    These pork tenderloin fajitas are inspiring. I think you might have to spend more time INSIDE your kitchen!

  2. Pork tenderloin is my favorite meat to use in tortillas (tacos/fajitas). Those look delish!

  3. That looks like some insane rain! I'd cook inside too. And you did a wonderful job with that indoor meal - it looks so nice and colorful too.

  4. Great sounding recipe Chris and the photos are outstanding - I especially like the placement of the fajitas. We got the same amount of rain, but living on the hillcrest and being in preparations for a dinner party, I didn't see any flooding, although I'm sure there was a deluge coming off the cattle field across the road. The rain started just as I was putting a rib roast in the smoker.

  5. That's a lot of rain in two hours Chris. Wow. Water can be very dangerous. This has been a strange winter. Florida is extremely dry.

    Good looking fajitas. You're right. A cast iron pan is a must.

  6. First, your pictures are always so lovely and I think I forget to say that most days!
    Second, YUM!!!
    Third, wow, can't believe how much rain you all got. I'm heading over to the food bank site right now.

  7. oh my goodness, i've never dealt with a flood before (knock on wood) stay safe out there.

    i love fajitas, these look fantastic!

  8. Wow, that's a whole lot of water!
    The fajitas look truly amazing.

  9. Mother nature can be as unpredictable as you with a veggie vinaigrette! Hope all returns to normal soon... PS you may want to stay away from SippitySup. I've got anchovies 2 days in a row! The fishiest of the fish. GREG

  10. The weather has been crazy. Snow in San Francico and unusual cold rain on our side of the Bay. We had a tragedy of two teenagers riding a raft through the flood channels. oh mang!

  11. That is some serious rain and this is coming from someone who lives in Oregon where it rains year round.

    I love using pork tenderloin in my Mexican recipes... your fajitas look muy bien seƱor!

  12. I love looking at pretty food pictures (almost as much as looking at jewelry!) and yours are amazing! Who'd a thunk fajitas could be so beautiful?! About that creek...does this mean there are now thousands of snakes writhing on the streets/yards? I'm sure there are...Tennesee means Snake, does it not? Printed this one - it's in the to-make file! xo, Nan

  13. Well, you know me, I LOVE the veggies with the vinaigrette - not only is it a beautiful shot, your chopping is perfect. :) (call me strange, but I love a well chopped veggie) Nice post, Chris!

  14. So sad about Second Harvest. Our neighbors had a clogged sewer pipe and their ENTIRE garage flooded to within 1 foot of the ceiling. Luckily, we are uphill from them and didn't get any damage.

    Dish looks great, as usual! Nothing brightens up gray weather like Mexican food!

    Went to the Cheerwine party tonight- kind of ho-hum, but there was some tasty Calhoun's food and Magpie's cake... so it was a nice, free dinner! Plus, I got to try Cheerwine. Diet Cheerwine :)

  15. I know the weather must have been really bad if you brought your cooking inside! Normally you're like the postal service - rain, sleet, snow, whatever. These fajitas look pretty damn amazing though.

    I'm glad to hear you guys are okay!


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