Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Can't Live Without My Grill

I don't know about you, but in the summer I do most of my cooking on the grill - whenever possible.  I try not to turn on the oven unless it is a cool day or if I need to bake something.  I've been known to don a winter coat and boots to grill in the winter too.  Here is one of my many favorite recipes for the grill.  We use venison, because that is what we have, but the original recipe calls for beef (skirt steak).  Use whichever you prefer.  The recipe that I adapted comes from Cuisine at Home magazine and was a mole recipe, but Ryan isn't much of a fan of the mole - so I took out the cocoa.  Feel free to add it in if you like.  There is a fairly long list of ingredients and things to make, but that's kind of how it is with fajitas and tacos (at least at our house).  The roasted salsa is not necessary, but goes very well with the meat.  You could replace this with regular salsa if you want.  Also the bean dish is not necessary, but it is how we get our meat to go further.

The rub is fantastic, sometimes I make extra and keep it on hand for the next time I want to make fajitas. It would also make a nice "gift" with other spice mixes that you or your family like.  The black-eyed pea salad is a great accompaniment to most mexican meals, makes a nice side dish for summer meals and even tastes great as a salsa on chips.  The original recipe came from Cooking Light magazine.

Grilled Venison Fajitas with Roasted Salsa
Rub ingredients:
2 Tblsp brown sugar (I use sucanat)***
2 tsp each paprika and kosher salt (and cocoa powder if you want it)
1 tsp each ground cumin, garlic powder, and black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Roasted Salsa ingredients:
1 Tblsp olive oil
2 cups tomatoes, quartered or halved
1 cup red onion, chopped (white or yellow works fine too)
2 garlic cloves
1 spicy pepper of your choice (serrano, jalapeno, poblano all work well)
1 Tblsp fresh lime juice
sea salt to taste

Other Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb venison or skirt steak, trimmed
Vegetables for grilling (onions, peppers, beets, etc.)
Sour Cream
Cheese, grated
Whole wheat or corn tortillas, warmed
Black Beans and corn or Black-eyed peas salad (recipe follows)

Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to mix.  Rub/pat this mixture onto your meat and refrigerate until ready to grill.  Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic and spicy pepper (if using) in a medium sized bowl and drizzle with 1 Tblsp olive oil, toss to combine.  You can roast these on the grill if you like or in the oven at 500 degrees until starting to brown, about 25 minutes.  If you choose to roast on the grill, remember to rotate them often and only halve the veggies.  While roasted veggies are cooling, prepare (scrap clean) your grill for your meat.  Grill meat about 3 minutes per side (depending on thickness of meat).  Now return to your roasted veggies and throw them in a food processor or blender along with the canned chipotle chile in adobo (if using), the lime juice and salt.  Process until smooth.  Allow meat to rest for about 5 minutes.  Slice into thin strips across the grain.***Recently I've been making the rub without any sugar and I think I actually like it better!***

We like to eat these fajitas on whole wheat tortillas with guacamole (mashed avocado with some garlic, cilantro, lime juice, chopped tomatoes and salt), black beans and corn or black-eyed pea salad (see following recipe), sour cream, grilled peppers and onions, and a bit of grated cheese.

Black-eyed Pea Salad
1 cup fresh black-eyed peas (I use dried, soaked overnight)
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tblsp cider vinegar
1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (may want less depending on level of heat desired)
1 garlic clove, minced

If using dry peas soak overnight and drain water before cooking.  Combine peas, water and broth in a small pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender.  I like to use my crockpot on high to make beans - checking them throughout the day until they are tender, usually takes 2-3 hours (but is unattended for the most part).  Toss frozen corn into peas for the last minute or so to soften.  Mix together drained peas and corn with remaining ingredients.

For a printable version of the recipe, without pictures, click on the title of the recipe above.

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