Sous vide flank steak tacos with fennel slaw and roasted red pepper salsa

Perfectly tender, pink flank steak is effortless with a sous vide, which I used for these tacos with fennel slaw. For the salsa, I took the basic method from my legendary orange sauce and added some red and orange peppers for that fall color and a touch of sweetness.

 Spring naan flatbread

If all goes well, I have exactly three months left before my second baby is born. Life, as I know it, will once again change forever.

While exciting, I’m also kind-of -sort-of terrified. After two years of getting accustomed to the glorious, joyful little tornado that entered our lives, I feel like we’ve finally hit the cruise control. She talks in full sentences and has a predictable sleeping and eating schedule. We can leave her for long periods of time in the care of others to do our own thing, and she’s successfully using the potty all by herself (BIG win!). Despite a little tantrum here and there, she’s pretty easy. And super fun.

I have no idea what life with another baby is going to look like. But I remember those first few months of sleepless nights and round-the-clock feedings — and they’re not particularly fond memories. Those months were rough for us. I love little baby feet and bellies and noses just as much as the next mom, but I think I love the ability to community with my toddler and the comfort of what to expect even more.

So, as I’m in the final countdown before tornado number two enters our home, I’m looking for ways to simplify our busy life — starting with dinner.

Dinner is all about advanced planning these days. If I can cook it the night before after my daughter is in bed, the days are so much more manageable. Pastas are great. Chilis, soups and curries are even better. And there’s no denying the power of great kitchen tools.

As I was cleaning out my cabinets (again, in an effort to simplify), I came across a brand new Nomiku sous vide machine that my neighbor had given me months ago after finding out that I like cook. Intimidated by the new tool and too lazy to research what I needed to get started, I stashed it away and forgot about it until recently.

Big mistake, friends! I finally took a second (literally, a second) to play with it and realized all I needed was a large freezer ziplock bag or glass jars. Within a couple of meals, I now feel like a sous vide pro. I’ve made overnight oats in jars to simplify breakfast, perfectly tender (yet, crisp!) veggies to simplify snacks for the babes, and these here steak tacos.

While it seems like there are a lot of components (and there are), it only takes about 20 minutes to prep everything. If you make the sauce the night before or the morning of when you put the steak in the sous vide water bath to cook, then all you have to do is toss a salad and assemble come dinnertime.

It looks fancy, I know. But it’s seriously one of the easiest, most delicious and deceptively simple meals to make. And leftovers can keep for lunch for days. 

(Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Nomiku. However, all opinions are my own.)

 Spring naan flatbread
 Spring naan flatbread

COOKING NOTES

The whole point of this dinner is to make everything ahead. So, it does require just a bit of advanced planning. While the meat is cooking away to tender perfection, make the salsa and keep it aside until dinner. (If you have extra sauce, it’ll keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.) The slaw can be made right before you’re ready to serve.

SERVES 4

PREP TIME: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 7 hours TOTAL TIME: 7 hours, 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the steak tacos
3 teaspoons spicy mustard (or any mustard)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½  teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound flank steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 6 tortillas (I prefer Sonoma style)

For the salsa
2 red or orange bell peppers, halved
1 tomato, halved
1 small yellow onion, halved
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup chile de árbol
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable oil

For the slaw
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup baby arugula
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Kosher salt, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set your sous vide to 131°F / 55°C.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, cumin, salt and coriander. Rub the mixture evenly over the entire steak. Place the steak in a large vacuum bag, or gallon-sized Ziploc. (You can cut the steak in half if needed.) Cook for 7 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Place on an oven rack in the center of the oven and turn on the broiler. Place the peppers, tomato, onion and garlic on the pan and roast until slightly charred and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Peel the skin off the peppers.
  4. Place the chilies and garlic into a blender with the apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Allow to soak for about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, tomatoes, onions and salt to the blender and let sit until completely cool.
  5. Puree the mixture on high until smooth. Turn the speed to low and, through the small opening on top, pour the oil in a slow and steady stream until the sauce is creamy.
  6. When the steak is done cooking in the sous vide bath, fire up a skillet. Remove the steak from the bag and pat dry.
  7. In the skillet over high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Sear the steak for about 60 seconds per side, or until browned. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  8. While the meat is cooling, make the fennel slaw by tossing all the ingredients for the slaw together. Season with salt, to taste.
  9. Heat the tortillas over the stove until pliable.
  10. Assemble the tacos by layering steak, slaw and salsa. Serve.