If you’ve ever been to Montreal or Quebec City, you’ve probably devoured one or more plates of poutine. It’s a startling addictive dish of French fries covered with gravy and some sort of braised meat. Recipe developer and food photographer Cecilia Ryu created this mouth-watering version with a Mexican twist for carne asada fries.
This is major party food that’s delicious and a meal all itself. "Who doesn’t love fries," she asked us, "especially when they’re covered with cheese and carne asada?" Good question! And we can’t think of a person who wouldn’t crave this recipe (other than vegetarians and vegans, but, hey, just skip the carne asada, and it will still be delicious)!
"This has all of the components," Ryu said, "of your favorite Mexican meal." Although Ryu’s recipe has a prep time of an hour and a half, almost all of that is just letting the steak soak up all of the savory marinade. Ryu’s carne asada fries are perfect for a family party, and we’re confident that everyone will love them!
Gather together the ingredients for these delicious carne asada fries
There are two sets of ingredients for this recipe: one for the marinade and the other for the toppings, which you can adjust to your liking. Ryu uses flank steak, but if you can’t find it, skirt steak will do just as well. Flank steak is a versatile slab of beef. It can be grilled, roasted, sautéed, or broiled, but because it’s so lean, you have to cook it quickly, or you’ll end up with a dry piece of leather. Flank steak also benefits from a marinade, and Ryu’s recipe is a classic Mexican marinade with the addition of orange juice. Her toppings are also the mainstay of Tex-Mex cooking: pico de gallo, guacamole, pickled jalapeños, and cotija cheese, the crumbly Mexican white cheese that you can find in any supermarket.
Marinate the flank steak for the carne asada fries
A marinade flavors the meat, but because it only penetrates a quarter inch, it really only tenderizes the surface. You also have to be careful that you don’t over-marinate the beef because beyond eight hours, it will turns spongy, pale, and unappetizing.
Ryu’s marinade for these carne asada fries couldn’t be easier. Simply lay the flank steak in a glass baking dish that’s large enough to contain it. If you only have a smaller baking dish, then cut the flank steak in half. Combine the marinade ingredients — minced garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, and minced jalapeno — in a small bowl and whisk well. Pour the marinade evenly over the flank steak, cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to eight hours. Make sure to turn the steak a few times so the marinade coats all of the steak.
Grill the flank steak for your carne asada fries in a cast iron skillet
Before cooking the steak for your carne asada fries, prepare the frozen French fries according to their packaging instructions. Once they’re done, remove them from the oven and set them aside. You’ll be broiling them later with the cheese and steak.
For grilling the steak, you can’t beat a cast iron skillet, but you can use a grill pan if you don’t have one. Heat the skillet with the canola oil over medium-high. Remove the flank steak from the marinade and drain off any excess. (You can dispose of the marinade at this point.) When the skillet is hot, add the steak, and grill it for four to eight minutes per side, depending on its thickness. Don’t be afraid of a little char: It will add a big boost of flavor to the beef.
Slice then dice the flank steak for the carne asada fries
Transfer the flank steak for your carne asada fries to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for ten minutes. Flank steak is butchered from the lower back end of the cow that gets plenty of exercise. The flank is packed with dense muscle fibers and connective tissue, so however you cook it, flank steak definitely needs to be sliced across the grain. Slice the steak, then cut each slice in half length-wise, and cut those slices into small bite-size pieces.
Add the steak and cheese to the carne asada fries and broil
Transfer the baked French fries to a skillet or an oven-proof dish that won’t shatter under the broiler. Sprinkle the cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese over the fries so they’re completely covered. Put the diced flank steak on top, pop the skillet or oven-proof dish into the oven, and broil for approximately two minutes. Take the skillet or dish out of the oven, and top with guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and the cotija cheese. Sprinkle the carne asada fries with two tablespoons of minced cilantro and lime wedges (if using) on the side. Serve hot, and let the fiesta begin with carne asada fries that you, your family, and your friends will beg you for again and again!
Ryu’s carne asada fries are perfect for a family party, and we’re confident that everyone will love them! Give the recipe a try today.
- 1 ½ pounds flank steak
- 1 ½ tablespoon minced garlic (about 4 to 5 cloves)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 30-ounce bag frozen French fries
- 8-ounce bag shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- ¾ cup guacamole
- ¾ cup pico de gallo
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup pickled jalapenos
- ½ cup grated cotija cheese
- Lime wedges for serving
- Place flank steak in a glass baking dish that’s large enough to hold it. In a small bowl, combine garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper, olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, minced jalapeno, and ½ cup cilantro. Stir well to combine.
- Pour marinade over flank steak. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours. Turn the steak a few times to ensure it’s evenly coated with the marinade.
- Prepare French fries according to package directions.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or grill pan with 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-high. Remove steak from marinade, discard the excess. Grill steak for 4 to 8 minutes on each side depending on thickness.
- Transfer steak to a cutting board, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice the steak across the grain, then cut it into small pieces.
- Put the cooked French fries in an oven-proof dish or skillet. Top with shredded cheese and diced steak. Broil until cheese is melted, approximately 2 minutes.
- Take the carne asada fries out of the oven, and top with guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, and cotija cheese.
- Garnish with 2 tablespoons cilantro and lime wedges, if using. Serve hot.