Chili Colorado

Chili Colorado gets its name from its peppery red sauce, not the western state.

Spring might be right around the corner, but don’t break out the beach towel yet. There are still a few chilly days ahead, and while uncomfortable, they are a perfect time to make a big pot of chili Colorado. It will fill the house with delicious aromas and fill your belly with spicy goodness.

The traditional Mexican recipe for stewed chunks of beef gets its name from the rich, red sauce – colorado means “colored red” – made with dried chile peppers. Ancho peppers are mild in flavor, while guajillo and New Mexico chiles range from medium to hot. Try different peppers or a combination to get the flavor you like.

Enjoy with rice, tortillas, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Chili Colorado
Courtesy of Whisk, serves 6-8


5 cups beef broth, divided
8 dried large red chile peppers (guajillo, New Mexico, or ancho)
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf

Serve with:

Flour or corn tortillas, warmed
Sliced radishes
Sliced jalapeño peppers
Lime wedges


  1. Remove the stem and seeds from the dried chile peppers. In a small saucepan, add the peppers and beef broth; simmer on low for 30 minutes until the peppers have softened completely.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin, oregano and ancho chile powder, and let the spices bloom while stirring for two minutes.
  3. In a high-speed blender, carefully combine the rehydrated chili peppers and soaking broth, the sautéed onion and garlic mixture, and the tomato paste. Blend together until the sauce is smooth.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the beef. Toss the 1-inch cubes of beef with the flour, kosher salt and pepper. In the large Dutch oven, brown the beef in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until all sides have browned.
  5. Add 3 cups of beef broth and a bay leaf to the Dutch oven. Ccover and simmer on low for 1 hour.
  6. Remove the lid and add the red sauce. Simmer on low, uncovered for another 45 minutes, or until the beef is fall-apart tender and the sauce is thickened.
  7. Serve with flour or corn tortillas, rice, cilantro, radishes, lime wedges and fresh slices of jalapeño.

Located in Cary, Whisk is a unique, independent kitchenware store offering cooking classes and services for those who love to cook.

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