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.

Sticky Smoky Bourbon Chicken

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken

If a recipe has bourbon in the title then you’ve lost me – I’m already in the kitchen snapping open the lid of my Makers Mark drowning my other ingredients with it whilst also sneaking myself a wee dram. If every recipe could have bourbon in it then I’m sure the world would be a much calmer, more relaxed and happy place. Just like me, after my second wee dram.

I’ve been really enjoying reading other people’s blogs lately, I’ve shrugged off my inferiority complex which has been green with envy at the rapier wit of their child’s first day back to school or the renovations they are doing to their vast farmhouse kitchen somewhere in North Dakota. I’m also now appreciating their stunning photography which plays with light and shade as a chocolate cake peeks beautifully out of the shadows, scattered with delicate flowers, without glaring pointedly at my own Canon, cross that it never does that sort of thing for me. So, yah, I’m like super over this pesky jealousy.

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

This week I have been enjoying catching up with Pinch of Yum, whom I discovered via Pinterest. I noticed recently just how many of their photos I have been pinning to my boards so I thought I would go and look at their website for realsies. Now, I have to confess, I only looked at one recipe, which I was enjoying immensely, before I was struck by the Bourbon Effect (totally a thing) on the second recipe and I had barely finished reading the other ingredients before I remembered I had some chicken in the fridge. Well my friend, I had cannonballed myself into the kitchen, snatched the chicken out of the fridge and doused it liberally with Makers Mark before you could say SoberTober. It was pretty lucky then that I also managed to locate the rest of the ingredients in my larder which took less than 5 minutes to measure out and add to the mix. Between my first glance at the recipe and getting my version in the oven it couldn’t have taken longer than 10 minutes, but I might have made some slight alterations here and there to suit exactly what I was after.

Now, the original recipe asked me to marinate my chicken overnight but there was no time for that, this was a bourbon emergency and not a moment could be wasted. I have no idea therefore how much was lost in translation but honestly it couldn’t have been much as boy did this dinner deliver.

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

I also swapped out the sugar that was called for with honey, because I am turning into a bumblebee (yeah, I know they make it they don’t eat it, and also that it’s not bumble bees it’s honey bees – what are you the bee police? I want to be a bumblebee and a bumblebee I shall be kind sir). I also added some chipotle to add a bit of smoky heat to the proceedings, and then a pinch of instant coffee for a bit of dark background noise.

I served my version with a giant mound of garlic broccoli and sugar snap peas because after all that bourbon and honey I had to do a cursory nod towards this diet I’m supposed to be on (argh, when will it start – damn you Bourbon Effect).

Now, I might go and read some more of their recipes, I am also prone to the Cinnamon Effect of late so we shall see how far I get.

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

Sticky and Smoky Bourbon Chicken
Adapted from Pinch of Yum http://pinchofyum.com/sticky-bourbon-chicken-rice
Serves 4

4 chicken legs (I always ask for mine boned with skin intact)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
120ml soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
60ml very light olive oil
60ml vinegar (rice or cider or white wine)
60ml bourbon
60g honey
1 teaspoon smoked garlic powder
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
A pinch of instant coffee

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and place in a large casserole dish, with the chicken skin side up and poking out of the sauce.
  2. Leave to marinate for a couple of hours, if you have time.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, then place the casserole dish, uncovered, in the oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Serve with rice, like the original recipe, or green veg like me.