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Jun 14, 2005 09:25 AM

Red Chili/Chili Colorado

  • c

The Mexican restaurants here in Phoenix call it Red Chili and the rstaurants in So. Cal call it Chili Colorado but either way it's tender meat cubes simmered in a delightful red sauce. It's not really "chili", no beans. Would any one have a recipe or a clue how to make this at home?

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  1. wow, many would argue that if it has beans, it can't be "real" chili. happily, i fall into either camp. regardless, it's just chili w/ hunks of meat instead of ground & lots of red-hued seasonings to give it the color.

    i generally don't follow recipes for chili (i take a kitchen sink approach and make it on whim), but the recipe that follows is a basic starting point. all ingredients can be increased/decreased to taste. tomato sauce will give you a little thicker consistency, diced gives a little clearer tomato flavor. chipotles will make it smokier. i use cayenne for heat (since it's consistent) and fresh/smoked peppers for flavor (fresh, especially, can vary widely in heat). for the beer, i usually use a darker mexican beer (negro modelo, dos equis); sugar may need to be adjusted based on the sweetness of the beer.

    6 lbs. beef, trimmed & cubed into bite-sized pieces
    4 onions, diced medium
    3 red bell peppers, diced medium (or ripe poblanos if you can find them)
    2 minced jalapenos or chipotle en adobo (or more as you like it)
    3 cans lo-sodium beef broth (beef stock if you have it)
    24 oz. tomato sauce/diced tomatoes (depending on how thick/thin you like it)
    4 Tbs. ancho chili powder (or more as you like it)
    4 Tbs. chili powder
    2 Tbs. Mexican oregano
    4 Tbs. cumin
    4 cloves garlic (or more as you like it)
    cayenne to taste
    1 bottle beer
    1 tsp. sugar
    salt/pepper to taste


    season meat with salt & pepper. in a couple teaspoons oil, brown meat on all sides without crowding pan (may require multiple batches). reserve browned meat. in a couple teaspoons oil, saute vegetables until softened. add all seasonings and garlic to sauteed veggies and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrent. deglaze with beer. add reserved beef, accumulated juices & all remaining ingredients. Simmer 2-3 hours. garnish with: minced red onions/chives, avocado, cilantro, cheese, lime wedges and/or sour cream.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mark

      I would never use tomatoes, sugar or commercial chili powder in chili and of course beans are optional and are on the side to add or not. The cumin seed needs to be toasted and ground and if you do not have a local source for whole or ground chilies, Penzy's and Penderry's are both good sources offering pure ancho, mulatto etc. and some good blends of ground chiles but unadulterated by other seasonings.

      1. re: Candy

        Thank you both so much - the first recipe sounds like it and I will start there!

        1. re: claree

          enjoy! let us know if it's what you were looking for.

    2. The recipe from Epicurious (linked below) for "Spicy Red Pork and Bean Chili" is excellent -- you could easily substitute beef for the pork/beans and arrive at a "chili colorado" style final preparation.


      1. Correct me if I'm wrong but you are not at all referring to the American version of "chili" but rather the Mexican dish of meat cooked in a red chile sauce or "carne con chile colorado." This dish has nothing at all to do with beans or no beans and there is no beer, sugar or any other such Americanized ingredients. If you want to make the true Mexican version you simply take:

        about 1/2 cup of red powdered chile (California, New Mexico, Chimayo etc.) or you can take about 12 dried chiles (again New Mexico, California, Pasilla) and remove the stems and seeds. Put them in a heavy fry pan and roast them for about 4 minutes turning from side to side. Be careful not to let them burn. When they start to blister they are done. Remove from pan and cool then pulverize them in a spice mill or coffee grinder.

        2 tbsp oil
        2 lbs round steak or pork shoulder cubed
        about 1 tbsp flour
        4 crushed garlic cloves
        1 tsp salt
        1 tsp pepper
        1 tbsp oregano (Mexican preferred if available)
        1 tsp dried red chile flakes (optional)
        1 tsp cumin (optional but nice addition)
        3 cups canned or fresh beef stock or water

        Fry diced meat in oil until browned nicely. Sprinkle with flour. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 mins. Add some, not all of the chile, oregano mixture and taste, add more if needed. Add the broth or water and bring to boil. When boiling, turn heat down to a simmer and cover then cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. There should be some broth remaining but check from time to time to make sure and give the meat a stir when you do.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Neta

          I think it comes out much better using dried chiles, but I prefer a mix of anchos, mulatos and/or pasillas - basically the sort of blend you might use for a mole coloradito. Reasonably fresh ground chile gives you the flavor, but the texture isn't as smooth.

        2. This was my recipe that the AZ Republic used last year. I've adjusted it slightly, I think for the better. If you leave out the hominy and decrease the liquid (both chicken broth and chile soaking liquid), it comes out closer to the chili I think you are looking for. I do, however, encourage cooking it one day in advance - allows you to get off the excess fat and I think it really blends the flavors well.

          POZOLE ROJO (Red Chile Pork and Hominy Stew)

          3 lbs country pork spareribs or pork butt
          12-15 dry red chile pods
          2 medium onions (preferably white), roughly chopped
          10-12 garlic cloves, roughly minced
          ½ cup fresh cilantro, including stems, chopped
          2 tsp ground cumin
          1 tsp Mexican oregano
          1 tsp adobo (optional – can be replaced with additional cumin)
          2 cans chicken broth
          1 can hominy, drained and washed in fresh water
          olive oil (or corn oil)
          salt, pepper

          Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

          Break off and discard stem of red chile, shaking out seeds as much as possible. Soak chile’s in bowl of hot water turning occasionally, 30 minutes. Remove chile’s, reserving soaking liquid, and put in blender with onions, garlic, fresh cilantro, cumin, oregano, adobo and 1-2 tsp salt. Use soaking liquid to puree this mixture until smooth.

          Season all sides of the pork generously with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven, heat oil and brown all sides of the roast. Add one can chicken broth, stirring to scrap the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. (If you like it REALLY hot, use the remaining soaking liquid instead of chicken broth.) Pour sauce from blender over pork, and add enough chicken broth to almost cover meat. Cover pot, place in oven and immediately lower oven temperature to 275 degrees.

          Remove pot after 2 ½ to 3 hours. (Can be prepared 1-2 days in advance to this point and refrigerated, which will also allow you to skim the fat) Add hominy, adjust consistency with chicken broth if necessary, and continue to heat in oven for an additional ½ hour.

          Remove meat to plate. Pour sauce and hominy around roast. Top with fresh cilantro if desired.


            Beans are just filler. Neither CASI or ICS allow contestants to use beans in cook-off chili. In Texas you can get hanged for putting beans in chili. Mend your ways and do not spoil chili by putting beans in it. If you need beans with real chili, serve frijoles refritos (refried beans) as a side dish.


            4 Replies
            1. re: ChiliDude

              i used to be in agreement with you 'dude, but had to change my ways. i was a purist until the early '90s, - no beans, no tomatoes, no weird/foreign seasonings, etc. - but then i saw the light. while i thoroughly enjoy the "pure" version, chili has become a cultural expression, much like bbq. as such, each region has it's own unique take on it. while chili on spaghetti under a mound of cheese may be anathema on the basis of purity, it attests to what it is to be from southern ohio (& no, i'm not from there, it just leapt to mind as an example). there are many, many other such permutations. i've learned to look past the execution to focus on the taste, and, equally important, what it says about the cook/region it comes from. so, just as q can be very generally described as smoked meat, chili, in the broadest sense, is no more than a pepper-seasoned meat stew. it's the cook and the region that make it such a delight to chow down on. in fact, the purist definition is itself a fallacy. just as with other stews, chili was first made as a hearty, one-pot meal with what was at hand. therefore, it was comprised of whatever meat could be hunted/herded, easily transportable and locally attainable seasonings (peppers) and whatever other veggies/additives could be scrounged on a daily basis. any given cook's chili would have varied diurnally with the available ingredients. only once it was institutionalized were hard and fast definitions assigned to it. as far as the governing bodies go, they are always reactive. in time, i hope casi and ics will validate their constituency by broadening their definitions to acknowledge chili-lovers everywhere; after all, it's much better to be inclusive and to share and learn from our experiences than to exclude solely for the sake of semantics.

              1. re: mark

                Very well put, especially the comparison to bbq. I think the regional variations add to the culinary fabric of our country, and I much prefer the diverging evolutionary twists and turns to a sterile set-in-stone recipe.

                1. re: mark

                  I agree that people should put whatever they want in their chili BUT it annoys me that some people don't think it's "real" chili unless it has beans in it.
                  I reserve the "real chili has no beans" shpiel for just these people, especially when they're eating my chili and have the gall to tell me that my chili is missing beans!