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Chili Colorado

Chili Colorado


Mexican dinner at our house used to be marinated beef flap meat and chicken that Richard grill and then cut into pieces as make-your-own burritos fillings, serve along shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, sour cream,shredded cheese and tortilla. But here’s the thing: I don’t even marinate the meats– we always buy it pre-marinated from Mexican grocery. So it’s not really proudly from my kitchen… until I found this Chili Colorado recipe and try it out. It’s a process, but definitely worth the effort. I don’t follow the recipe exactly, so I don’t know if it’s authentic Mexican flavor. But the Chili Colorado is delicious and my family loves it~~ I am happy! 🙂 Ok, my next Mexican food challenge would be Spanish rice (I’ve been buying Spanish rice from Mexican restaurant… shhh!)

Chili Colorado (serve 6-8 people, adapted from David’s Free Recipes.com)


4-5 lbs chuck roast or beef short rib chuck– see note below
Meat seasoning:
fresh ground black pepper
granulated garlic/garlic powder

water to almost cover the meat
2 cups of Chili Colorado sauce– see below for recipe


  1. Trim off any excess fat of the meat, and cut into 1-2 inch chunks.
  2. Heat up a frying pan on medium high heat, add 1/2 tbsp cooking oil. When the frying pan starts to get smoky, add in some beef chunks (do not crowd the pan with too much meat, or it will not brown nicely), and sprinkle a (more less) thin layer of meat seasoning on top of meat. Flip the meat when the bottom is browned, and repeat witha thin layer of seasoning. Transfer cooked meat to a large stock pot. Repeat this meat searing process in several batches.
  3. Turn off heat and add 4 cups to the frying pan, use a spatula/ wooden spoon to scrap off any seasoning stucked to the pan. Add this water to the meat, and fill the pot with extra water to almost cover the meat.
  4. Turn on high heat to bring the pot to a boil, then lower heat to medium low, covered and simmer for 1 hour (you prepare Chili Colorado sauce during simmering if the sauce is not ready).
  5. Stir in Chili Colorado sauce to mix well. Covered, continue to cook on medium low heat for additional 1.5-2 hours. Stir occasionally. The meat will get more tender the longer it cooks, and the sauce will slightly thicken. Turn up the heat a little towards end of cooking time if the sauce is too watery (aka too much liquid), but be sure to stir often to prevent burn at the bottom. Add salt to taste. Serve hot with Spanish rice, beans, salad and warm tortillas.

Regina’s Note:

  • Meat choice: I prefer boneless beef short rib chuck. It’s a more expensive cut of meat, but the marbled fat makes the meat very tender and moist after cooking. Chuck roast is cheaper, but I find the meat is tender but on the dry side.
  • I always think Chili Colorado can be beef or pork version, but I have been wrong all these time~ Chili Colorado is for beef ONLY. The pork version is called Carne Adovado.

Chili Colorado Sauce Recipe (yields 2 batches, about 2 cups each batch– adapted from David’s Free Recipes.com)

2oz. dry pasillo chilis (dry pablanos)
1 1/2oz. dry guajillo chilis (dry Anaheim chilis)
3 1/2 cup water
1 red bell pepper
2-3 jalapeno or Serrano peppers (adjust spicy level to your liking)
1 big onion
6-8 cloves fresh garlic
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Method for Chili Colorado sauce:

  1. Remove the stems of dry pasillo chilis and guajillo chilis. Cut into pieces and add in 3 1/2 cup water. Microwave for 2 minutes. Let chilis soak in water while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. Remove stems of red bell pepper and jalapeño/Serrano pepper. Cut into chunks. Cut onion into chunks too.
  3. Add softened chilis, red bell peppers, jalapeño/Serrano peppers, onion, and soaking water to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Heat up a saucepan on medium high heat, add 1 tbsp cooking, blender mixture and seasonings. Stir constantly for 5 minutes (beware that the sauce at this liquid-ty stage will splash, by stirring constantly you can reduce splashing). Reduce heat to medium to medium low, continue stirring and cooking, until the liquid evaporates and sauce thickens to about 4 cups. The sauce is ready for use. Extra sauce can be frozen after cooling completely.

Regina’s Note:

  • Red bell pepper: original recipe uses green bell, but I prefer red bell because it brings out more of the beautiful reddish color of Chili Colorado sauce.

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