Have you ever had Beef Chili Colorado? Next time you’re in the mood for chili, take my advice and try the real deal. No beans, just meat and chili sauce, served up with brown rice and tortillas.
And if you want beans with your Chili Colorado, they’re served on the side…..Cowboy Style.
When you hear the words “Chile Colorado” it should evoke thoughts of dried chiles, tender pieces of chuck roast, seasonings like ground cumin culminating in a symphony of deliciousness.
You can also think of Chile Colorado as a Mexican version of beef stew. And for me, it brings back memories from my childhood growing up in San Antonio, Texas.
What do I need to make Chile Colorado?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make the Sauce for Beef Chili Colorado. In chef speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Once you’ve gathered the ingredients for the chili sauce, the first step is toasting the deseeded chili peppers.
This will enhance and deepen the flavor of the chilies. Just be careful not to scorch the peppers, which will make them bitter.
Chef Dennis Tip:
If possible wear plastic gloves when you handle the chilies. Also, make sure to clean all the surfaces and wash your hands thoroughly.
Can I toast the Chiles in the oven?
Yes, you can. Place the chili peppers on a baking sheet and toast in a 350-degree oven just until fragrant and puffed, about 5-6 minutes.
Can I use different Chile Peppers in the Red Chili Sauce?
Yes, you can. Depending upon your tolerance for heat, you can use hotter peppers. The peppers I’ve chosen are mild.
These are some of the other peppers you can use:
- Cascabel – Round, tropical, fruity, relatively mild heat.
- Puya – Similar to guajillos but smaller and spicier, earthy, fruity but with some acidity, medium heat.
- Chipotle – Medium-sized, tough-skinned, smoky, medium heat.
- Chiles de Arbol – Small, nutty, earthy, very spicy.
- Morita – Petite, smoky, sweet dried fruit flavors, medium to high heat.
- Pequin – Tiny, a little smoky, a little fruity, very spicy.
Chef Dennis Tip:
When you toast the chilies make sure to have your hood fan on and open a window if possible. The lower heat peppers won’t be a problem, but if you use the spicier varieties the aroma coming off the peppers can easily choke you.
Sauté the onion in a little olive oil for 2-3 minutes then add the garlic and continue cooking for an additional minute.
Place the remainder of the ingredients for the chili sauce into the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and allow too steep for 45 minutes.
Reserve one cup of broth for later use. Place the remainder of the ingredients into a blender and blend at its highest setting.
Depending on the power of the blender it may completely puree all the ingredients. If it has bits and pieces remaining, run the sauce through a sieve to take out and pieces that didn’t get pureed.
Gather the remaining ingredients, and let’s get started making the Beef Chile Colorado!
Season the beef with sea salt and black pepper. Then seer the beef in a hot pan with a little olive oil. Make sure to sear all the sides of the beef cubes.
Don’t overcrowd the pan, do the beef in two batches if you don’t have a big enough pot.
Add the chile sauce to the seared beef along with the reserved beef stock. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Let the beef simmer covered for 2 hours.
After simmering for two hours, uncover the pot. Mix the masa harina with 2 tablespoons of the broth to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the pot and stir well, making sure to have and lumps from the slurry.
Continue cooking the Chili Colorado for about 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Serve Beef Colorado with seasoned rice (and beans if desired) and grilled (or heated) tortillas of your choice. I can never decide whether I like corn or flour tortillas the best, today I went with flour tortillas.
The rich smokey flavor of the chilies with the fork-tender beef will soon become one of your favorite dishes. I love using brown rice with this type of dish, it adds a nuttiness that you don’t get with white rice. It takes a little longer to cook than most of my dishes but trust me when I tell you it’s well worth the effort!
Chili Colorado wasn’t named after the state of Colorado? The name “Colorado”, which means “colored red”, is derived from the deep red color of the chile sauce.
Chuck, Short Ribs and Oxtail are my preferred choices for chile Colorado. The cheaper cuts of meat come from muscles that work more and would generally be tougher. But that also means more collagen-rich connective tissue. This connective tissue dissolves into the meat, adding to the body and richness to the stew that more expensive cuts of meat won’t give you. It also keeps the meat tender and moist which is exactly what you want with stew meat.
Chile Colorado gets its deep red color from dried chili peppers. Chile Verde sauce is made mostly with green tomatillos instead of dried red chiles.