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!