RECIPE: Chilli sweet potato and mushroom fajitas
In my Texas upbringing, fajitas were a restaurant thing, not a home-cooking thing.
They came out sizzling on cast iron - strips of grilled steak, along with onions and peppers, that we would wrap in flour tortillas with salsa, and maybe cheese, guacamole and/or sour cream, too.
The word "fajitas," in fact, refers to steak; it's a diminutive form of the Spanish word for "belt," referring to the cut (flank) originally used to prepare the dish. But it long ago became generalized to apply to any version of the dish, most popularly with chicken but also shrimp and even vegetables.
The latter are often mushrooms, with perhaps onions and bell peppers in the background. But the version I made from includes sweet potato and poblano chilli peppers as partners.
It's a great combination, with the sweet potato adding starchy heft, the poblanos a little vegetal spice and the portobellos their characteristic meaty earthiness. Toss all three in lime juice, oil and spices, roast in a hot oven and try to resist the aroma that will soon fill your kitchen.
Distract yourself by making a little spicy avocado crema to go on top.
Try to resist the noise, too. When you pull out the sheet pan, everything is sizzling. Have tortillas ready, please.
Poblano, Sweet Potato and Mushroom Fajitas (Serves 3-6)
The spicy avocado crema takes it over the top, but if you're short on time, substitute fresh avocado slices and dollops of your favourite sour cream.
For the fajitas
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder (may substitute 1 teaspoon each ground ancho chilli, ground cumin and Spanish smoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
- 1 small sweet potato (224g), scrubbed well and then cut lengthwise into 1cm-wide strips
- 4 poblano chilli peppers (450g), stemmed, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1cm-wide strips
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 portobello mushroom caps (224g total), cut into 1cm-wide strips
- Six 15cm-wide flour tortillas
- 1/2 cup packed coriander, chopped
- Lime wedges, for serving
For the crema
- Flesh of 1 ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup canned coconut milk (full-fat or low-fat)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 serrano chilli pepper, seeds and ribs removed
- 1/4 cup packed coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the fajitas: Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven; preheat to 230 degrees.
- Whisk together the lime juice, oil, chilli powder and salt in mixing bowl. Add the sweet potato, poblanos, onion and mushrooms, tossing until evenly coated.
- Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. Working quickly so the pan stays hot, arrange the vegetables on it in an even layer. Roast until the sweet potato is tender and the other vegetables are deeply browned on the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, and add more salt, as needed.
- During the last few minutes of roasting, wrap the stack of flour tortillas in aluminium foil and place in the oven (on a lower or upper rack) to warm them.
- While the vegetables are roasting, make the crema: Combine the avocado, coconut milk, lime juice, serrano, coriander and salt in a food processor and purée until smooth.
- Fill the warmed tortillas with the roasted vegetable mixture. Add dollops of the crema and some coriander to each portion. Serve with the lime wedges.
Recipe adapted from "Simple Green Meals," by Jen Hansard (Rodale, 2018).
The Washington Post