Steak Skewers & Guajillo Chile Sauce

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

This post is in partnership with Sam's Club. The opinions and content are all mine.

You can never have too many appetizer recipes in your arsenal. When I’m attempting to brainstorm new ideas, it often starts with questions like “Can I make bite-sized portions of a meal I already love?” or “Can I put it on a stick?” The latter, of course, is where I landed in deciding to serve these tasty steak skewers. This fall I’ve partnered with Sam's Club to highlight the availability of USDA Prime Beef at their stores. They carry cuts such as rib-eye steaks, New York strip, tenderloin, sirloin, and even brisket. It’s selected from the top ten percent of all beef, so the marbling, tenderness, and flavor is best. And thanks to low prices, you’re able to get quality meat for a great value. I purchased a double pack of rib-eye steaks for this recipe, which would be more of a splurge to serve as an entree for a crowd. But as an appetizer, it’s easy to make that steak stretch even further by skewering it.

The sauce was something I was really excited to try with steak, after making it a few times for chicken dishes. It falls somewhere between a romesco and enchilada sauce, with a bright chile flavor and toasted nuts used to thicken it. If you have trouble finding dried guajillo peppers, you could swap in a few chipotle peppers instead, for an equally good, albeit spicier version. Take the time to roast all the ingredients separately before blending for the best flavor. Leftover sauce can be used in everything from sandwich wraps and burgers, to dipping veggies, so don’t let it go to waste!

Steak Skewers & Guajillo Chile Sauce

1 1/2 lbs rib-eye steaks
1 ½ tsp Kosher salt, more as needed
Cracked black pepper, as needed
Neutral cooking oil, as needed
1/2 cup pecans
4 dried guajillo chiles
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro
4 oz butter

Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 8
Special Equipment: Large heavy skillet or grill pan, wooden skewers, blender

Prior to getting started, soak your skewers in water for at least thirty minutes to help prevent the wood from scorching later. Cut the steak into one-inch cubes, trimming and discarding areas of hard white fat. Toss with the Kosher salt and season generously with black pepper. Thread several pieces of steak on each skewer, then drizzle lightly with oil and set aside. You can prepare the steak skewers up to a day ahead of time.

 Note: If your skewers are too long to fit in your skillet, use kitchen shears to trim the ends.

The first step to make the sauce is to toast the guajillo peppers. Remember that whenever you buy dried chile peppers they should feel soft and leathery, not brittle. Tear the peppers into small pieces, discarding the seed. Toast the chiles over medium heat in your skillet, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until fragrant. Transfer chiles to a bowl and cover with boiling hot water to steep until softened. 

Back in the skillet, toast the pecans for a few minutes until fragrant as well. Transfer those to your blender once toasted. Preheat your oven broiler on high. Line the skillet with a sheet of foil. Place the sliced peppers, shallot, and tomatoes in the pan and drizzle lightly with oil. Broil until smoky and charred, about 10 minutes.

After the chiles have softened in hot water, transfer them to the blender, reserving the water. Add the broiled veggies, garlic, vinegar, smoked paprika, and cumin. Puree on high speed until smooth, then stream in just enough olive oil to make a thick sauce. If you need to thin the sauce out at all, you can use some of the reserved chile water. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter and stir in chopped cilantro. This will be used for basting the steak skewers as they cook.

Preheat your skillet over high heat until just shy of smoking, and add a splash of cooking oil. (You could also cook the steak skewers on the grill, but I found it convenient to use my cast iron pan for all the cooking steps here.) Once hot, lay a batch of steak skewers in the pan so that the steak can sear on one side. Only work with as many skewers that can lie flat at once. Baste the tops with cilantro butter and flip to sear the other side. Continue cooking, flipping and basting a couple of times, until steak is cooked through to the desired doneness. You can use a meat thermometer to check that that steak is at least 130°F for rare or cook a little longer for medium-rare meat. Just be warned that these are so small that they will cook quickly, plus the residual heat will carry the temperature up a few degrees after removing the skewers from the pan. Tent the cooked skewers with foil until the remaining batches are cooked.

To serve, either transfer the chile sauce to a dipping bowl, or smear the sauce on your serving platter before arranging the skewers on top. That way everybody gets some of the sauce as they help themselves. The tender chunks of seared steak paired with a rich chile sauce made for a perfect bite! To learn more about USDA Prime Beef at Sam’s Club, visit their website.


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  1. Absolutely amazing! Made this twice already! Sent it to a bunch of friends who also loved it!
    I added a scotch bonnet to give it a little kick! Great recipe!