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This authentic Chile Colorado (Mexican Stew) has fall-apart tender chunks of beef in a bold red chile sauce made from dried chiles, broth and warm spices.
What is Chile Colorado?
Chile Colorado is a Mexican beef stew, similar to Birria, made with tender chunks of beef in a red chile sauce.
The broth of the stew is made with dried ancho and guajillo peppers that are roasted with onion and garlic to give a smoky, earthy flavoring. Combined with beef broth, and traditional spices the end result is bold, flavorful and complex.
Slow cooking the meat in the chile broth creates tender, juicy bites of meat that can be served in the stew, or used to make burritos.
- Garlic, Tomato and Onion: fresh ingredients used in making the sauce. (check out these garlic substitutes if needed)
- Cumin, Oregano, and Bay Leaves: flavorings to season the broth. If you are able to get Mexican Oregano that is highly preferred for this recipe.
- Beef Broth: using unsalted or low sodium will allow more control over the seasoning of this recipe.
- Masa Harina: used to thicken the broth, can be subbed with another thickener of choice if needed.
About the Chiles
These are both dried chiles, and can be found at most local markets, either in the produce section or in the Mexican food aisle or spice aisle. If you are not able to find them at your local store, try a Mexican market or you can find them online at Amazon or other specialty retailer.
What Beef is Best to Use?
Thanks to simmering the meat until it’s fall apart tender, it’s possible to use a less expensive cut of meat.
- Stew Meat: this is roast that has been chopped up already and packaged.
- Chuck Roast: if purchasing a roast, be sure to chop the meat into chunks approximately 1 and 1/2 inches.
How to Make
- Toast the dry peppers (stems and seeds removed), tomatoes, onion and garlic.
- Sear the beef briefly on all sides in the same dutch oven or large pot you will be cooking in.
- Blend the toasted peppers and veggies with some broth to create a smooth Chile sauce. This is the flavoring blend for the stew.
- Add the Chile sauce and additional broth to the seared meat add additional seasonings, bring to a simmer, cover and cook on low for at least an hour until meat is tender and fall apart.
- Mix in the masa to thicken the stew at the end, let this simmer for several minutes until thickened.
- Stew: serve this simply as a stew in a bowl with some fresh flour tortillas on the side for dipping.
- Bowl: spoon on top of some rice (cilantro lime rice or mexican rice) and a side of beans if desired, like these charro beans.
- Burritos/Tacos: use the meat as filling for burritos or tacos with any of your other favorites. Save the sauce to serve with tortillas or eggs for breakfast or another meal.
Substitutions and Variations
- Meat: instead of beef you could use a pork roast.
- Chiles: switch up the chiles to change the flavor and spice level. For more heat add some chile de arbol.
- Vegetables: add extra veggies or potatoes.
- Pressure Cooker: use the sauté setting to roast the peppers and veggies, and to sear the meat. After adding all ingredients, cook on high-pressure for 35 minutes, naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
- Slow Cooker: sear the chiles and veggies to make the red Chile sauce, and sear the meat in a skillet over the stovetop. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the meat is tender and fall apart.
Colorado translates to red in Spanish. The recipe Chile Colorado got it’s name due to the iconic, beautiful deep red color of the broth from the red chiles used in the recipe.
The spice level of this Chile Colorado is Medium. It could be lower by leaving out the
Yes! This recipe can easily be adapted to be made in either the slow cooker or pressure cooker. Both methods would yield incredibly tender bits of meat.
Make Ahead and Storage Information
- Storage: store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This recipe can be made a couple days in advance and reheated before being served.
- Freezer: store in a freezer safe container or bag. Store for up to 3 months. To thaw, remove to the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheating: add to a medium size pot and heat over medium heat on the stovetop while stirring until warmed through.
- Searing: sear the beef in batches to avoid over-crowding the pan, this allows a nice sear on the meat. Over-crowding causes the meat to steam instead of sear.
- Broth: add some beef soup bones in for simmering when making to create a hearty, nutritious bone broth.
More Authentic Mexican Recipes
Authentic Chile Colorado
- Prepare dried chiles by slicing stems off and removing seeds from the inside.
- Heat the chiles in a small saucepan over medium heat, toast both sides for several minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add the tomato, onion and garlic to the pot, allow these to roast for 2-3 minutes. Add the chiles back into the pot
- Pour 2 cups of broth over the top of the chiles and bring this to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat, let this sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the meat, by slicing into 2 inch chunks if needed.
- Pour oil into the dutch oven, enough to coat the bottom of the pot and heat over medium heat.
- Place several pieces of beef into the pot (be careful not to crowd the pan) and sprinkle with a pinch of the salt, allow to sear for 1-2 minutes, then turn using tongs and continue this process until all sides of the beef are seared. Remove from the pot and continue this until all meat is seared
- Pour the chiles, tomato, onion, garlic and broth into a blender. Add the salt and blend until smooth.
- Pour the chile sauce into the large dutch oven, add the remaining 1 cup of beef broth. Add all of the meat back into the pot. Season with cumin and oregano. Add in the bay leaves. Stir to combine.
- Bring this to a boil over medium high heat, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour or until meat is tender and can easily fall apart.
- Stir in 2 tbsp of masa and bring to a simmer to allow the stew to thicken.
- Remove the bay leaves, serve over rice with fresh flour tortillas on the side. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
- Pressure Cooker: use the sauté setting to roast the peppers and veggies, and to sear the meat. After adding all ingredients, cook on high-pressure for 35 minutes, naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. Add the masa and cook on sauté for several minutes to let simmer.
- Slow Cooker: sear the chiles and veggies to make the red Chile sauce, and sear the meat in a skillet over the stovetop. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the meat is tender and fall apart. Add in the masa and let cook an additional 30 minutes on high until thickened.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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