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Monday, July 5, 2010

Quorn Fajitas with Refried Beans and Salsa Verde

I'm not sure what actually defines a tradition fajita, but this is my personal take. I wouldn't dare claim that this recipe is traditional, but it is a mighty tasty Midwesterner's take on Mexican cuisine. The next morning I cracked a few eggs and made the leftovers into delicious huevos rancheros.

This recipe can be broken down into a 3 step process: Salsa Making, Refried Bean Preparation, and the Vegetables and "Meat" of your Fajita.

Salsa Verde
For the salsa I used lime-basil I have growing in my yard. Feel free to substitute with regular basil or, of course, cilantro.

  • 6 medium tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed well
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into eighths
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3-4 arbol chilies, rehydrated in warm water until pliable (feel free to substitute with any dry or fresh chile. I can't wait to try this with a serrano pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 large handful of lime-basil leaves (or cilantro)

1) On a large, dry skillet over medium heat, add the whole tomatillos, onion, garlic cloves and chilies.
2) Cook, stirring occasionally, letting each side of the vegetables darken a bit until the tomatillos collapse (15 minutes or a little more).
3) Transfer the skillet contents into a medium bowl and let soak in their juices while you cook the rest of the meal (I let them soak in the fridge).
4) Once the cooked veggies are cool, combine in a food processor with basil or cilantro leaves, lime juice and salt to taste.

Refried Beans:  
I highly recommended finding a source of good-quality dried beans. I regularly stock up on heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo and, oh boy, are they good. I made refried beans with these yellow indian woman beans and they were truly exceptional - almost a shame to eat them mixed with so many other ingredients. You can easily substitute these with pinto or black beans. Canned beans are certainly sufficient, but seriously, cook up some dried beans from scratch if you can, you won't be disappointed.  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, very thinly sliced
  • 4 cups cooked beans (yellow indian women, pinto or black)
  • 1/4 cup warm water or broth (more or less depending on your desired texture and how moist your beans are)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
      1) Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until soft. Add the cooked beans and heat for a few more minutes, stirring frequently.
      2) With a potato masher, mash the beans and onions into a chunky puree. Add the water as needed and salt to taste. Cover the dish, remove heat and set aside.

      Fajita Vegetables and "Meat"

      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/2 inch strips
      • 1/2 orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch strips
      • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch strips
      • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning*
      • 1 package quorn, or your favorite meat substitute
      1) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the onions and peppers and saute until slightly soft (2-3 minutes).
      2) Add the taco seasoning and stir so that it's evenly distributed over the vegetables. Add the quorn, mix again, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the quorn is heated through (7 to 10 more minutes).

      *Homemade taco seasoning: combine 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (ground dehydrated garlic, not garlic salt), 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 3/4 teaspoon paprika, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper. Store in an air tight jar.

      Serve with the refried beans over your favorite tortilla or taco shell. Top with plenty of salsa verde and queso fresco (or your cheese of choice).
      Serves 4

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