Sous-Vide Steak Fajitas

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We love fajitas, Tex-Mex flour tortillas stuffed with chicken or steak, bell peppers, onions, salsa, and cheese. At least that’s how I like to prepare them. We usually have them with chicken, but I was curious to try them with steak. Skirt steak is sometimes also known as ‘fajita meat’, and so that was the cut of beef I wanted to use. Skirt steak is from the diaphragm of the cattle. It is very flavorsome meat with a coarse structure, and can be tough if you don’t slice it very thinly across the grain. For a special treat I cooked the skirt steak sous-vide for 48 hours at 55C/131F and then finished it on the grill. This made the beef tender and juicy, and still pink medium rare all the way through. I think the photo above speaks for itself. It also gave the fajita spices the opportunity to penetrate deeply into the meat. The result was absolutely delicious and this is something I’ll definitely make again.

When I first tried skirt steak sous-vide, I had cooked it only 24 hours and it was still tough. I think you could cook it even for 72 hours if you like it extremely tender. As for the spice mix, of course you can adjust that to your own taste. For instance, I used smoked paprika and New Mexico chile powder (courtesy of Baby Lady). If you like it more smoky, you could replace the chile powder with chipotle powder. Or if you like it less smoky, replace the smoked paprika with regular paprika.

Now 48 hours seems like an awful lot of time. But remember that sous-vide cooks by itself. You don’t have to do anything during those 48 hours, just let the sous-vide cooker do its thing. Fajitas can be very quick to prepare if you use store-bought tortillas and store-bought salsa. If you like to go all the way, it’s great to make your own salsa and tortillas but that is not required for a very tasty result. When you do buy the store-bought stuff, check the label for natural ingredients. Ideally they should only contain the ingredients that you would also use yourself.

Ingredients

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skirt steak

bell peppers, cut intro strips

onions, thickly sliced into rings

olive oil

grated cheese

chunky salsa for fajitas, store-bought or homemade

flour tortillas, store-bought or homemade

Spice mix for 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of skirt steak

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chile powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

Preparation

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Combine the ingredients for the fajita spice mix in a bowl.

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Stir until mixed homogeneously.

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Rub the meat with the spice mix on all sides.

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Vacuum seal the meat.

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Cook the meat sous-vide for 48-72 hours at 55C/131F.

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Take the meat out of the sous-vide pouches, reserving the juices. Pat the meat dry with paper towels.

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Sauté the bell peppers and onions in olive oil until they are starting to char just ever so slightly.

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Now for a beefy and spicy flavor kick, add the juices from the sous-vide pouch to the bell peppers and onions, and cook until most of the liquid has disappeared.

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Brown the meat briefly over a very hot charcoal grill, only long enough to give it a nice color and flavor. Remember the meat is already cooked and it would be a waste to overcook it.

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Slice the meat across the grain. Note that this is a counterintuitive direction because it is in the lengthwise direction of a slab of skirt steak.

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Take a flour tortilla and arrange some beef slices on it as shown in the photo. Leave about 1/4 of the tortilla empty for folding.

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Add some sauteed bell peppers and onions.

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Add some salsa.

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Add grated cheese.

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Now fold the tortilla into a wrap and serve at once.

Flashback


If you own an ice cream maker, making your own homemade ice cream is a breeze. Many ice cream recipes use a custard as a base, so if you know how to make vanilla ice cream, you can make many more flavors by adding pureed fruit. Of course it is important to use real vanilla to make real vanilla ice cream…

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8 thoughts on “Sous-Vide Steak Fajitas

  1. You mention that you like corn tortillas in the first paragraph, but then you used flour tortillas in the recipe. I prefer flour, myself, and that’s how they’re served where I live. But I can purchase an “artisan” variety that’s a combination of flour and corn. They have the nice corn but they act like flour, so they’re my new favorite. They unfortunately come in ony a small size, but I can work with that! Love your fajitas!

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    • I meant to say flour tortillas as that is indeed the proper type of tortilla for fajitas — thanks for catching that. Have you ever tried skirt steak sous-vide? I found it to be a very flavorful cut.

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  2. We have been making fajitas at least once a week, usually with shrimp or steak. Our recipe is almost identical to yours, except our meat is no where near as beautiful as your sous-vide version. Sometimes, I blitz (in a food processor) some seeded heirloom tomato, cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapeño, lime or vinegar for a quick salsa fresca. It’s also fun to add a bit of a creamy element to traditional guacamole for a new twist. ¡Olé!

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  3. This one of my favorite meals served with pinto beans and rice. I usually do chicken just because it is easier and cheaper. If I do steak it is usually sirloin or top round. Skirt steak is just too expensive where I live.
    To me the key is to marinate the meat in wine or beer plus some spices to tenderize. I don’t do sous-vide.

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