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Chili Colorado

A Brief History

Chile Colorado is a meat stew made with chiles, beef ,or pork. The recipe orginated in Chihuahua Mexico. It is made in Mexico with red chiles and beef. This stew is often served with rice or potatoes or in tacos and tortillas. Some recipes use fire roasted tomatoes and chili powder in the recipe. It is a staple in many parts of Mexico.

It was popular with Mexican cowboys because it was an easy dish to carry on long cattle drives. It is very popular in Northern Mexico. Some people believe it the recipe came from the state of Colorado. It is made in Colorado with red or green chiles and beef or pork.

Chile Colorado in Spanish means red.. There are several recipes for this dish and they vary in terms of heat from mild to very hot and spicy.

Chefs use ancho chilies in the recipe. It is a dried red pepper from Mexico that has a mild heat rating. They come from the green Poblano pepper that turns red when dried. Another chilie pepper used is Guajillo a mild red pepper with medium heat and pasilla peppers another dried red pepper with medium heat.

Arbol chile peppers are small dried red peppers about 2-3 inches long with medium heat. This is another pepper used in making Chili Colorado. Some people used dried red jalpeno peppers or ones that come in jar or can. They are low on the heat scale.

Chili Colordado with Rice and Beans Photo Source: Flicker/Winnemucca/Hayden Blackey

Tips For Making Chili Colorado With Beef

Dried Chili Peppers: Commons Wikimedia

Wear plastic gloves when handling chile peppers when cutting and removing seeds from chilis. Cut chilis with small knife or kitchen sheers and squeeze to get seeds out. Discard seeds. Chop chilies with a small knife or cut into small pieces with kitchen shears and saute in oil in skillet to make a chili oil for the recipe.

  • Use beef chuck eye or beef ribeye steak for recipes cut into bite size cubes for stew. This meat has more flavor and stays moist.

  • Use fire roasted tomatoes or Rotel Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles as part of the sauce.

  • Use dried arbol or jalpeno peppers for a mild to medium heat in your stew. Be sure to remove the seeds in the chili pepper.

  • The only vegetables addes are onions, garlic, and chiles.

  • Buy dried red chilies in your supermarket produce department. They are usually displayed near fresh produce. Most large and small supermartkes and health food stores sell dried chilis.

Rib Eye Steak: En Wikimedia Beef Chuck Eye Flicker/Ted Eyton

Mild to Medium Chili Colorado Recipe

Animation: Source Giphy

This is mild to medium heat version of Chili Colorado made with beef and dried red chiles. This can be cooked on top of the stove.

You will need a small knife, kitchen shears, cutting board, gloves, can opener, measuring spoon, measuring cups, wooden spoon, and medium sized skillet.


1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil

3 dried arbol or jalpeno chiles seed removed and diced

1 medium white onion peeled and chopped

4 cloves of garlic chopped fine

1 pound chuck eye steak or rib eye cut into beef stew chunks 1 to 2 inches

1 cup of Rotel Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Green Chilies

1 cup of beef broth or more as needed

1 teaspoon chili powder


Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil to your skillet. With gloves remove seeds from chilies by cutting with knife or kitchen shears and squeezing. Disgard seeds. Dice chiles into bite size pieces. Add to the pan in the oil. Wash cutting board with warm soap and water and rinse. Dry board off with paper towel. Put heat on stove to medium and saute chiles.

Remove peel from onion and discard. Chop onion into small pieces and add to skillet. Remove peel of garlic and chop into small pieces add to mixture in skillet and saute with wooden spoon. Cut meat into bite sized stew pieces add to skillet. Let mixture cook about five minutes lower heat if needed. Wash off cutting board with warm soap and water after cutting beef. Rinse and dry.

Add 1 cup of fire roasted tomatoes and green chilis and 1 cup of beef broth. Add chili powder and stir well. Let the stew cook about 20 minutes over medium heat and let the sauce thicken and boil down. Add more broth if needed. Serve hot with rice or potatoes.

Serves 2

Chili Peppers: Source Wix Media


A Brief History of Chili Colorado by Maria Jimenze, Green Gringos Cantina

Chile Colorado Mexicos Hearty Meat and Chili Stew by Jorge Garcia, May 2022, Amigo Foods

Authentic Beef Chili Colorado Recipe, by Maurcio, Culinary Tours USA, June 2023

Chili Colorado Recipe, Carlsbad Craving, Jennifer, 2023

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