Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste

This Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste takes about 10 minutes to make, it’s smoky, spicy, zingy and will soon become an absolute staple in your kitchen. Think of this Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning as a completely inauthentic Mexican pesto and then let your imagination run riot with the possibility of its uses.

Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste

It’s no secret that I am head over heels for anything fajita related. As children, Mum would treat us to chicken fajitas at Chiquitos before going to the cinema at the Swindon retail park where we would be enchanted by such delights as Sister Act 2. In fact I believe that is how I spent my 13th birthday. My salivation over flour tortillas stuffed to bursting with chargrilled chicken, onions, bell peppers, lashings of sour cream, guacamole and cheese has never diminished. It wouldn’t stop there either, on very special Saturday nights dinners we would re-create these fajitas at home using shop bought seasoning, which to be honest was always a bit of a winner as well.

So my background of tex mex is as pedestrian as they come and it wasn’t until my mid-twenties when I ran out of my fajita seasoning that I first googled how to make it myself.

I never looked back and I have a homemade fajita spice mix in my cupboard at all times which is basically a bastardisation of this recipe, using only the dry ingredients. This Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste though is the real deal and is truly my messiah, although it wouldn’t have been possible at all without my discovery of chipotle in adobo.

Cool Chile Co

This is not the first recipe I have included with chipotle in adobo or chipotle powder, I use them all the time to add a smoky heat to a dish, whether it’s chilli con carne, this bacon jam or barbecue sauce.

I know these ingredients may not be essentials in everyone’s larder but they definitely are in mine. I go into panic mode when I use the last of my chipotle in adobo or chipotle powder as they are not the easiest to get hold of.

If you have a Cool Chile Co. stockist near you then you are in luck but if not you will have to order their products online. It’s definitely worth it though – your fajitas will soar into the highest of echelons and you will become as addicted to them as I am.

Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste

Uses for your Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste:

  • Chicken Fajitas!  Add to your stir fried chicken, mixed bell peppers and onions for the most delicious chicken fajita filling.
  • Mexican Pulled Pork!  Smother over a pork shoulder and cook in a large casserole dish with a cup of water and the lid on for 4-5 hours for outstanding pulled pork.
  • Grilled Salmon!  Brush the paste over a fillet of salmon then place under the grill for 10 minutes for super sublime Mexican salmon.
  • Cinquo de Mayo!  Add a dollop to a mixture of half mayo/half sour cream for the most amazing mayonnaise for dunking sweet potato fries.
  • Smashed Avo on Toast!  Toast one side of sliced sourdough, add a generous smear of homemade fajita seasoning paste to the untoasted side then place back under the grill. Serve with a mound of avocado smashed on top, plenty of salt and some fresh summer tomatoes if you’re feeling fancy.

See? The dividends of your Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste know no ends. A little goes a long way in a dish so start off with a couple of teaspoons and take it from there.

Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste

Homemade Smoky Fajita Seasoning Paste

A smoky, spicy, zingy essential ingredient for your kitchen
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 125kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon tequila optional – substitute with water
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or a very light honey or rice malt syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 30 g fresh coriander
  • limes just the juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  • Place the cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a small saucepan and heat for about a minute until the spices are just starting to toast.
  • Remove from the heat and grind to a powder, either in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
  • Add the cumin and coriander into a food processor long with all the other ingredients except the olive oil.
  • Blitz it all up until smooth then add the olive oil and blitz again to make a thick paste. Use straightaway or store in the fridge until needed.

Notes

  • I am happy to keep this paste for a couple of weeks in my fridge, topping up with a bit of olive oil to seal the top every time I use it.
Yield 200g

Nutrition

Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 183mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 760IU | Vitamin C: 5.4mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Chipotle Braised Brisket

Chipotle Braised Brisket

I love living in London for the simple reason of choice. We have a few brilliant butchers within walking distance from my house which I frequent on a weekly basis. Or if we liked we could get our meat from the farmers’ market. Our closest one is the one at Ally Pally and is the one we go to most often, but if we fancy making a bit of a trip then we sometimes go to Broadway Market over in Hackney on a Saturday.

Chipotle Braised Brisket

The grand choice of butchers and farms pretty much on our doorstep doesn’t always mean I can quite manage to leave the house though and once in a while I like to treat myself and buy our meat from Turner & George, an online butcher who deliver around London. The joy of this obviously being that it gets sent directly to my front door and I don’t even have to change out of my pyjamas. Turner & George prices are extremely reasonable and they do things like preserved bone marrow, boneless chicken legs and an absolute plethora of gluten-free sausages. Best of all, when it arrives, the order explains the provenance of each animal so you feel you know exactly what you are eating and where it came from. I don’t prefer either option, the butchers, the farmers’ market or an online delivery but it is fun to mix it up.

A few weeks ago after receiving my bounty from Turner & George after a particularly indulgent spree I found I had two beef briskets in my package. After checking with my original order it appeared that I had clicked on the item twice which was a bit of a pain. Brisket is a bit special occasion meat in our house, not due to its expense, as really it’s incredibly economical, but due to the longevity of its cooking time. Whereas your usual stewed meat might be done in 3 or 4 hours, to reach its optimum succulence brisket requires a good 8 hours of cooking time. I have tried whacking up the heat, slicing it thinly but have always been disappointed when I try to rush the process. As you can imagine, not every day allows for the level of organisation required to assemble your evening meal at 10am, and guarantee you are going to be in the whole day to monitor proceedings.

Chipotle Braised Brisket

Also, our household only consists of two hungry souls, well there are six but I don’t think I’ll count Willow, Wesley, Billy Buddy (and Little Bean yet) as far as portioning out the brisket is concerned. So a 1.5kg cut of brisket sees us through the week and then some. Two briskets then, wasn’t necessarily welcomed as good fortune, especially since freezer space is limited due to my ice cream obession.

The first brisket I prepared the day it arrived, I cooked it low and slow with plenty of onions, tomatoes and garlic and served it with a hot and spicy barbecue sauce. It wasn’t the prettiest affair but it was delicious. After working our way through that for a week I didn’t feel enough enthusiasm to repeat the meal so soon so I managed to squeeze the other brisket in the freezer, which called for a couple of tubs of ice cream to be promptly removed and eaten, and waited for inspiration to hit.

Chipotle Braised Brisket

I have been meaning to write about beef tacos on my blog for a while. We eat them a lot, they always feel like a bit of a treat as they come loaded with all the best things in life, cheese, sour cream and guacamole plus I have an excellent recipe for the cooking spices which I’ve been honing throughout my cooking years. When I decided that I would make tacos again this week I suddenly realised this was exactly what my extra beef brisket had been sent to me to achieve. A smokily spiced extravaganza but still packed with a mountain of onions and peppers just like my normal beef taco recipe. But here, the meat would be melting into the juices and softly scooped into the taco before being loaded with all its accoutrements.

Chipotle Braised Brisket Tacos

Needless to say it worked out particularly well, otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing it with you. I used both dried chipotle and chipotle in adobo for the chilli hit, then added sweetly smoked paprika, warming cumin and coriander to round out the spices. I piled sliced onions into the bottom of the casserole dish so that they became a sturdy thicket for the brisket and I added a litre of stock around the meat, as I have paid the price before for not adding enough cooking liquid to my brisket. Over the course of the 7-8 hour braise most of the stock is reduced to an aromatic syrupy gravy, sparky with lime and spices and cushioned with caramelised onions and the sliver of peppers which are added in the last half hour of cooking so they don’t disappear into oblivion.

I have eaten my Chipotle Braised Brisket two meals in a row in soft and warmed corn tacos but this evening I plan on rustling up some spicy coriander rice to accompany my next incarnation of this most delicious of briskets.

Chipotle Braised Brisket Tacos

Chipotle Braised Brisket

1.5kg beef brisket, unrolled
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, roasted and crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted and crushed
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon smoked garlic powder
1 litre hot beef stock
1 dried chipotle
1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sugar
5 cooking onions, sliced
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced thinly
1 green pepper, de-seeded and sliced thinly
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and sliced thinly

Serve with guacamole, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, spring onions and warmed soft corn tacos

  1. Take the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, paprika, garlic and seasoning and rub all over the brisket. If you have time you can leave the rub to permeate the meat for up to eight hours.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  3. Soak the dried chipotle in the hot stock for 15 minutes. Take the chipotle out of the stock, then remove stalk and the seeds and chop finely.
  4. Put the chipotle back into the stock, then add in the chipotle in adobo, malt vinegar, lime juice and sugar and stir well until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Take a huge casserole dish and arrange the sliced onions in a heap at the bottom, then place the brisket on top. Pour the stock around the brisket, but not on top of the meat. Place the lid on and
  6. Cook the brisket for about 7 hours but do check every hour to make sure the meat isn’t going dry.
  7. After 7 hours, remove the brisket and cut into slices, the knife should melt into the meat.
  8. Stir the sliced peppers into the oniony chipotle gravy at the bottom of the casserole dish, then add the brisket on top, submerging it into the gravy so it doesn’t go dry.
  9. Place the lid back on the casserole dish and put back in the oven for about half an hour until the peppers are cooked and the brisket is pretty much falling apart.

Devils on Horseback

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback
So this week I finalised my Christmas menu for what I’m going to be cooking for all the family when they arrive from Christmas Eve onwards. It wasn’t that hard to be honest, as I took the menu I made for last Christmas and merely changed the header from Christmas 2013 to Christmas 2014. Gone are the days of festive experimentation, that is now what my blog is for.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Like any family, mine is picky and I have to cater across the board. Some don’t like smoked salmon, some can’t imagine Christmas without it. For those that hate the sight of Christmas Pudding, not to fear, there is trifle on hand. Then of course I have the usual brussel sprout debate, shall I bother with them when only a couple of people eat them? There is no question, unless I want sulks over the lunch table. A couple of years ago I broke from tradition and made a Ham Hock and Chicken Pie on Christmas Eve instead of the usual Honey Glazed Ham and there were definite murmours of discontent despite the pie being one of the best things that has come out of my kitchen. Lo and behold when I visited a certain member of my family over New Year a Baked Christmas Ham was presented for supper. The hint was duly noted.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

I don’t know how it came to pass that Devils on Horseback have to make an appearance by about 11am on Christmas morning just after we have finished opening our presents, especially since we’ve been stuffing ourselves with bacon rolls all morning. But then, there is always room for more bacon. I hate to admit it but I was getting a little tired of them each year so this time round I have jazzed them up a bit and I have to say that it has reinvigorated my love for them. They were missing a bit of oomph for me so I have mixed in some hot and smoky chipotle in adobo with a generous amount of citrusy marmalade and spread it on the bacon rashers before rolling them up with the prunes. Now, they have bite, a Chrismas kick with the marmalade and to finish it off I have given them a glaze of marmalade after they emerge from the grill to avoid the bacon going dry if they are going to be sat on a plate for a bit. Not that they will as they are usually wolfed down within seconds.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Just make sure you use good bacon and freshly opened sticky prunes.

The Devils on Horseback go down well with everyone, except of course for Mum who balks at the idea of sweet and savoury things together and wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Devils on Horseback

Easy Devils on Horseback are given a sweet hot and smoky twist.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: British
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 77kcal

Ingredients

  • 90 g marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo
  • 200 g stoned prunes about 24
  • 12 rashers smoked streaky bacon halved widthways

Instructions

  • Turn the grill onto its highest setting.
  • Mash up 60g of the marmalade with the chipotle until evenly mixed.
  • Spread about ½ teaspoon of the marmalade and chipotle mixture on one side of the bacon rasher.
  • Place a prune at one end of the bacon rasher and roll up, securing with a cocktail stick.
  • Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Place the devils underneath the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes each side.
  • Meanwhile melt the remaining 30g of marmalade in a small saucepan until runny.
  • Once the devils are ready, remove them from the grill and brush with the marmalade to glaze.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.2mg