Chile Colorado

Chile Colorado translates to Red Chilli (sauce, not the dish) and is a traditional dish from Northern Mexico, present also in Tex-Mex cuisine. As with many recipes, there are many versions to make it, all of them delicious! Ours captures all those beautiful flavours from home by using guajillo, ancho and Arbol chillies together with a few key spices. The result is a beautifully thick, bold and delicious sauce. This is how you can make it at home.



Chile Colorado

-500g chuck roast

-1 tbsp flour, heaped

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp pepper

-3 guajillos

-2 ancho chillies

-1 to 2 Arbol chillies

-1 ½ cups tomato sauce

-½ white onion, chopped

-3 garlic cloves, minced

-1 tsp ground cumin

-1 tsp ground coriander

-1 tsp oregano

-1 tsp smoked paprika *optional

-pinch of cinnamon

-1 bay leaf

-1 to 1 ½ cups of beef broth or water

-1tsp brown sugar

-salt and pepper to taste

-vegetable oil

-1 tsp butter *optional

1 Clean the guajillo and ancho chillies using a damp cloth. Remove the stem and seeds. Wipe the Arbol chillies and leave the seeds in. Heat up a pan with no oil and lightly toast the chillies on both sides until fragrant. This should take only a few minutes. Remove them from the pan and cover them with boiling water. Leave them to rest for 15 minutes. 

2 Once the chillies have softened, blend them with the tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth. You can sieve the sauce or leave it as it is. Reserve.

3 Cut the beef into equal-sized chunks. If the beef has a lot of moisture, pat dry with a paper towel. In a bowl, mix the flour, one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. Toss the beef chunks onto the flour mix until they are coated on all sides. 

4 Add about 2 tablespoons of oil and the butter to a large pan and sear the beef chunks in batches until golden brown on all sides. Remove the beef pieces and set them aside.

5 Using the same pan, add the onions until they start to soften. Add then the garlic and stir for a couple of seconds before adding the spices: one teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika and cinnamon. Stir well for a few more seconds taking care that they don’t burn. Add the sauce and the broth or water. Stir and add the sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a minimum and cook, covered, for at least 40 minutes or until the beef is tender.



  • Chile Colorado is usually made with pork shoulder. You can use it instead, the magic of this dish is in the beautiful sauce.
  • Adding Arbol chillies is a delicious way to bring up the heat. Do not add them if you don’t like spicy food.
  • The sauce should be thick but if it isn’t, simmer on low heat for a further 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered, once the beef is tender.
  • If you want even more flavour in this sauce, use lard instead of oil! 


To Serve

Traditionally, Chile Colorado is served with rice and beans! Because this is a very tasty sauce, we love it with white rice but Mexican red rice is also great! A Mexican dish wouldn’t be complete without a few warm corn tortillas to make a taco or two between bites. Sprinkle with diced onions, coriander and anything else you like. Enjoy!





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