Montana, the 41st state to enter the union, is rich in history. It is the site of the Little Big Horn and Custer’s last stand. It was the first state to elect a woman to congress. And it was explored by Lewis and Clark.
Montana has a very low population density. Of the 56 counties, 46 have an average population of just 6 people or less per square mile. It also explains why cattle far outnumber people in Montana.
Montana has a large grizzly bear population, too. The largest of any other state with an estimated 1,800 grizzlies roaming the wild.
Makes sense that so many grizzlies are in Montana. Yellowstone is known for its bear population. While most of Yellowstone is in Wyoming, three of it’s five entrances are in Montana. Montana’s entrances, unlike those in Wyoming, have towns just beyond the gates. Gardiner, West Yellowstone and Silver Gate-Cooke City are all so close to Yellowstone it’s almost like being inside the park.
Not only is today National Montana Day, in our house it’s also Tijuana Tuesday. Now as luck would have it, the most searched recipes in Montana during the pandemic were Fajitas. Since there are so many cows in Montana, Steak Fajitas seemed the best way to celebrate Montana Day. So we say Thank You Montana! Hope you enjoy!
Marinated Steak Fajitas
4 Cloves Garlic
2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1/3 cup chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1/4 cup Lime Juice
1/4 cup Pineapple Juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2-1/2 teaspoons Cumin
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Ground Coriander
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 lbs Flank Steak
Peel and mince garlic, set aside. Finely mince Chipotle Peppers, set aside. Mince cilantro, set aside.
In a non-reactive bowl, whisk together orange juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil. Season with cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, coriander, salt and pepper. Add minced garlic and chipotle peppers. Add cilantro. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade.
Place whole steak in a glass casserole dish. Pierce in several places with a fork. Turn, pierce with a fork. Pour marinade over the steak. Turn steak over several times to coat well. Cover and refrigerate about 4 hours.
Remove steak from refrigerator and let rest on the counter for about 45 minutes before grilling. When the steak is removed from the refrigerator, begin prepping the finishing touches and grill the vegetables.
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Orange Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Onion , sliced
1 tablespoon Butter
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Taco Seasoning
1/2 Red Onion
Cilantro for garnish
12 Fajita-size Flour Tortillas
Coarse Black Pepper to taste
Core, seed and thinly slice all the bell peppers, set aside. Peel yellow onion, slice thin and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt butter with oil. Scatter the peppers and onions in the skillet. Season with taco seasoning.
Once the peppers begin cooking, reduce the heat to medium low. Allow vegetables to cook until golden and tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Keep warm.
While the steak rests and the vegetables finish, thinly slice some red onion to serve raw. Peel and slice avocado. Slice lime into wedges. Squeeze 1 wedge over the avocado, set aside. Roughly chop cilantro, set aside.
Warm tortillas on a flat griddle. Warp 2 or 3 into each foil pack for serving.
To grill the steaks: Heat grill to medium-high. Remove steak from marinade. As soon as steak hits the grill, reduce heat to medium. Grill for about 5 or 6 minutes per side.
Remove to a cutting board and allow to rest, tented with foil, for 5 minutes.
To serve: Push the pepper mixture into one side of the skillet. Thinly slice steak into strips, arrange of the opposite side of the skillet. Add sliced avocado, season with coarse black pepper. Tuck raw red onion around the skillet for a splash of additional color. Scatter cilantro as desired.
Drizzle with reserved marinade, serve and enjoy.