Steak Fajitas – Tex-Mex Steak fajitas (pronounced fah-hee–tas), made with strips of steak, onions, and bell peppers, and served with fresh tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.
Meet Wendell Willis, Managing Director, Froedtert Health & Milwaukee Bucks and previously the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Foundation (http://mpsfdn.com/). He is our guest for Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders.
Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders
The idea for this interview/cooking segment comes from the HBOMax TV Show Selena+Chef (https://www.hbomax.com/selenarecipes), where Selena Gomez learns to cook, from world-renowned chefs, like Jose Andres, Marcus Samuelson, and Rachel Ray. Towards the end of each show, they talk about the foundation, charity, or non-profit that the chef is involved with.
My idea is slightly different. I will be interviewing community leaders here in Milwaukee, discussing their roles in being a difference-maker. And then we cook something (their choice). Wendell gives a short interview about his background and his work in the community. Then he will show us how to make one of his favorite dishes, Steak Fajitas. And tops off this great meal with his famous Margarita recipe.
How to make Steak Fajitas
You can make fajitas with steak or chicken, or even make it plain vegetarian. Steak fajitas make a quick and easy meal perfect for weeknight meals.
The earliest mention of the word fajita referring to food that can be found, appeared around 1975. Ten years later it had become one of the most popular dishes of Tex-Mex cuisine.
The word fajita comes from the Spanish faja, which means girdle or strip. It refers to a cheap cut of beef covering the cow’s diaphragm. It was not something desired by the locals. In the 1940s, workers on Mexican ranchs used to tenderize the meat by pounding it and then marinating it in lime juice. Then they cooked it over an open fire. They served the meat in a tortilla along with lots of condiments. No menton of Margaritas while they consumed their fajitas.
Today, fajitas can be filled with grilled chicken, shrimp, and even vegetables. And the more popular the dish became, the less likely it was to be made with skirt steak. Today, Wendell is using sirloin steak. Typical condiments include lettuce, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, or guacamole.
And the final touch to Wendell’s meal is the Margarita on the rocks – which is guaranteed to have you do zero work after this meal.
History of Margaritas
Like most cocktails, the history behind the margarita is not clear. You can read this article on “Who invented the Margarita” – https://southernfood.org/news/2021/8/12/margaritaville-who-invented-the-margarita. But it will not answer the question to anyone’s satisfaction.
The margarita is a cocktail that’s a combination of tequila, orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Cointreau), and fresh lime juice. A margarita can be enjoyed on the rocks or blended, with a salted, sugared, or plain rim and is usually served with a slice of lime.
The International Bartenders Association (IBA) designates the margarita a “contemporary classic” and it’s regularly ranked among the top-selling cocktails in the world.
Wendell makes his classic Margarita the following way –
Wendell’s Margarita Recipe (AKA The Willis-Rita)
- 3 Limes juiced
- Salt (for the rim of the glass)
- 4 oz Tequila
- 2 oz Triple sec
- 2 tbsp Simple syrup
To make the Margarita, put the juiced limes, Tequila, Triple Sec, and Simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake until mixed well. Strain over a glass full of ice and with a salted rim. Enjoy them with your Steak Fajitas.
- No special equipment needed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 tsp Smoked paprika
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Steak and Veggies
- 1 large sirloin steak
- 1 Onion sliced
- 2 Bell Peppers sliced
- 2 tbsp Minced Garlic
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Flour Tortillas
- Sour cream
- Guacamole or avocado
- Lettuce and/or Cilantro
- Shredded cheese – Mexican or nacho mix
- Salsa of your choice
- Hot Sauce
- For the marinade, put the first 9 ingredients in a bowl and mix together
- Take 50% of the mix and put it into a bag with the steak
- The other 50% will be put into a skillet with the veggies
- Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a skillet on medium heat
- Sauté the onions and peppers
- Add the reserved marinade to the veggies
- While the veggies soften, Put the steak in the broiler for about 5-6 minutes
- Flip steak halfway through and depending on thickness
- Cook Steak for another 5 minutes in the broiler – taking it out at medium to medium rare
- Cut the Steak into strips
- Add it to the veggies in the skillet and let it all simmer together.
- Serve with your favorite garnishes and accompainments
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If you like this recipe for Steak Fajitas, you should try our recipe for Dominican Empanadas.
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8 thoughts on “Steak Fajitas & Wendell Willis Interview”
Another Interview/Cooking segment with Milwaukee Community Leader Wendell Willis
Charlie, the fajita marinade looks fabulous. And, I think this series is an amazing idea.
Thanks Bernadette, I appreciate your comments about the interview/cooking segments
I love your steak fajitas Charlie. Delicious!