Special thanks to Vacuvita for sponsoring today's post and giving me the courage to attempt sous vide!
These Sous Vide Instant Pot Steak Fajitas are going to change the way you look at your Instant Pot. If you're new to Sous Vide cooking, you're in for a treat!
Tex-Mex Tuesday is a weekly tradition in our house. Everyone in my family loves Mexican food whether it's tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, or fajitas. It was only a matter of time before I figured out how to convert our favorite fajita recipe for the Instant Pot.
To make these Instant Pot Steak Fajitas, I actually had to learn a new cooking technique. I can't wait to tell you all about it!
What Makes These Instant Pot Steak Fajitas Special?
This recipe is dramatically different than any of the other Instant Pot recipes I've shared so far. For one, the focus of this recipe isn't one of the fastest, easiest ways to get dinner on the table if you start it from scratch.
Instead, my focus this time was on creating a perfectly cooked meal that's infused with a ton of flavor. If you're looking for an “instant” recipe, this one isn't for you. Though if you don't mind prepping one day so you have a quick meal for another day, this one fits the bill.
If you're interested in learning a new way to use your Instant Pot that will open up a whole new world of possibilities, then read on! Today we're going to learn how to use it for sous vide.
What is Sous Vide?
Sous vide is a hoity-toity way (actually, it's just the French term for “under vacuum”) to describe a cooking method that protects expensive cuts of meat from the worst cooks since it makes it nearly impossible to overcook the meat. That's because you cook the meat in a temperature-controlled bath.
Basically, you vacuum-seal the meat into a bag with your favorite marinade and/or seasonings. Then, you let it cook sous vide in a hot bath for a couple of hours.
Since the water never gets above the temperature you determine, the meat can't reach a higher temperature. So, for a dish like fajitas, where you want your steak to be medium rare, you'd set the temperature to 140 degrees to achieve the perfect level of doneness.
One of the reasons I fell in love with the Instant Pot is because it freed me from being a slave to dinner. I don't have to babysit my meals while they cook so I can spend my time doing the 8,000 other things that need to get done.
Sous vide cooking is no different. If you get distracted when you're putting away laundry because you realize the bathroom is a mess and then realize you have to update your shopping list to buy more toilet paper, your flank steak will be patiently waiting in perfect medium rare condition.
Also, because the water temperature isn't very hot, the meat will obviously take much longer to cook. At first, this sounds like a bad thing, right? But there are a couple of reasons this is a GREAT thing.
First, during that extended cook time, the meat is cooking in all that delicious flavor you sealed in the bag with it. You can imagine how delicious that is, I'm sure. And after you try this recipe, you'll know it for a fact.
Second, because the meat is vacuum-sealed, you can cook in advance and have a quick meal during the week. If you aren't serving it immediately, just move the bag to an ice bath as soon as it's done cooking and after 30 to 45 minutes, move it to the refrigerator or freezer.
It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and in the freezer for up to a year! Just make sure you label it if you're storing it in the freezer so you know what it is a month from now.
How to Sous Vide with Your Instant Pot
Since I don't have that model, that's not how I did it. Instead, I got an immersion circulator that attaches to the side of the pot to control the temperature and provide the jacuzzi effect that is a key feature in sous vide cooking.
To seal the meat and vegetables, I use a Vacuvita vacuum sealer. Before I even considered sous vide, I was an avid vacuum sealer.
Last year we had an invasion of pantry moths. We threw away hundreds of dollars of food and spent days cleaning every square inch of the pantry to make sure they were eradicated.
It was a nightmare and it hurt me to throw away so much food. Now I keep everything in sealed containers. It's worth it to me to not have to purge my entire pantry again.
Another reason I'm a vacuum-sealing fanatic is that with four teenagers, buying meat in bulk is one of the ways I save money on groceries. I buy the meat in big packs, then divide them up at home and seal them into smaller portions.
The fact that the Vacuvita bags are resealable makes it easy to make adjustments if I find I have one extra chicken breast after dividing them up.
I like the Vacuvita system because it comes with BPA free containers that I use for our leftovers to help them last longer too. We normally have leftovers one night a week to not only save money, but to clean out the fridge before I restock with new groceries. By vacuum sealing our leftovers, Monday's dinner tastes just as fresh as Thursday's when we reheat them Saturday night.
Also, I'm all about making my life EASIER, not more complicated. The one-touch operation of the Vacuvita is a definite plus.
To make these Sous Vide Instant Pot Steak Fajitas, I used one large bag for the steak and a medium bag for the vegetables.
FREE Instant Pot Cheat Sheet
Instant Pot Steak Fajitas Recipe
Hopefully, you're excited to attempt sous vide now! Try these Instant Pot Steak Fajitas as an easy first effort. Here's the recipe card with the exact measurements.
- 1 flank steak approximately 24 oz.
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder depending on heat desired
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Small bunch of cilantro
- 2 each red and green peppers
- 2 medium onions or 1 large
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 - 3/4 c. Chicken broth if required
- Flour tortillas
- 2 avocados
- 1 lime
- Optional- sour cream
Preheat your Instant Pot Ultra or immersion circulator to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine all spices, olive oil, garlic, and lime juice in a small bowl.
Pour this mixture into a Sous vide bag.
Add the steak, turning it in the bag several times to thoroughly coat.
Lay the cilantro across the top of the steak, and seal the bag. It’s important here to remove as much air as possible. Vacuum sealing is preferred, but not necessary as you can also use the water displacement method. To do this, slowly lower the bag into water, keeping the open top above the surface. The water pressure will force the air out of the bag, allowing you to seal it once removed.
Slice the peppers into strips.
Halve the onions, and cut to similar size as the pepper strips, breaking apart any larger chunks that stick together.
Toss the veggie strips in a large bowl with the olive oil, add to another Sous vide bag, and seal. For this step more than with the steak, vacuum sealing is preferred. If that isn’t an option, you can add a scant 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chicken broth to the veggies, allowing you to use the water displacement method to effectively remove the air.
Submerge both bags in the Instant Pot and set a timer for 2 hours.
Just before done, preheat your broiler. Once finished, carefully remove both bags and pat dry. Using a broiler pan, or similar sheet, cut open the veggies -discarding the broth if used -and spread them evenly over the pan, leaving room for the steak. Remove the steak, discard the cilantro, and place next to the veggies. Broil for approximately 2-4 minutes or until just starting to brown and char, turn the steak, mix the veggies with tongs, and broil for another couple minutes.
Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain.
Serve on warm flour tortillas with the peppers and onions, accompanied by avocado slices, and fresh lime wedges for squeezing.
Weight Watchers Freestyle = 7 Points per serving for 6 servings if using low point tortilla, skipping avocado as well
These Sous Vide Instant Pot Steak Fajitas go great with Instant Pot Quinoa Black Bean Salad!