By Rod Cohenour
This month we will fulfill a special request to publish our recipe for Chile Colorado made with Beef. This is a classic dish that truly wakens the taste buds and, for me, brings back fond memories of home.
This wonderful concoction can be used as a straight bowl of chile Colorado with onions and cheese. It can be used in enchiladas cooked in the oven in a classic meat-filled tortilla and topped with cheese. Or, it can be used as a burrito filling. We like it with flour tortillas and served as suggested below.
The preparation of Authentic Red Chile Sauce, prepared New Mexico style, involves the use of traditional dried chiles which are typically hung around the home in ristras, which make for a most colorful and useful decoration – especially at Yuletide. The dried chiles are reconstituted and flavor is added by seasonings and fresh vegetables. The process is outlined below.
Authentic Red Chile Pepper Sauce: (I prefer to make my own, but have found a local purveyor of an excellent packaged “starter pack” that works. It is named Bueno, sold here in Oklahoma in the freezer section at Uptown Grocers or Crest Foods. This is authentic New Mexico red chiles which have been charred, deseeded, destemmed, and reconstituted, flash frozen. All it takes is heating before adding to your meat portion.)
4 lbs. lean beef stew meat (you can cut this yourself from a prime lean roast of beef, but to save time, buy the prepared stew meat) 1 cup flour, for dredging Ground black pepper, to taste (don’t overdo this and ruin the authentic taste, though) 1 Tbsp. Onion Powder 1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder 1 Tbsp. Cumin 2 tsp. ground Mexican Oregano 1-2 Tbsp. cooking oil (I prefer corn oil, but vegetable oil will do. Not olive oil, wrong flavor) Water to cover meat Authentic Red Chile Pepper Sauce (see recipe below) Tortillas Rice, Mexican style Refritos (refried beans), garnished with cheddar while hot Garnishes and sides for Tortillas: Ground cheddar or Mexican blend Cheese, Guacamole, Diced onions, green onions (white bulbs and green tops), radish slices, sour cream, Pico de Gallo (your choice or all of these garnishes)
2-3 large Poblano peppers, packaged as dried whole sections (Anchos) 2-3 large Anaheim peppers, packaged as dried whole sections (Guajillas) 3-4 cups HOT water to cover 1 fresh green or red Bell Pepper, diced and seeded, membranes removed 1 large sweet onion, diced 1-2 fresh jalapeno or Serrano peppers, deseeded and diced 6 to 8 cloves of fresh garlic, minced fine 1 tsp Chili powder 1 tsp Mexican Oregano 1 tsp Cumin
Begin preparing your Authentic Red Chile Sauce.
- 1. Prepare dried chiles by removing seeds and stems. The flesh may break up, but that does not matter, just don’t waste it. Scoop all the dried flesh into a sauce pan or large bowl.
- 2. Cover with HOT water. Let stand about 20-30 minutes until the chile flesh is “reconstituted” or has become softened. Cover and reserve.
- 3. Prepare fresh chiles, peppers, and onion. Remove seeds and stems (unless you like it really hot, then leave the seeds and membranes) from the jalapenos, or Serranos, and the fresh Anaheim peppers. Dice bell pepper and onion.
- 4. Put reconstituted peppers and water (all the water, do not waste a drop!) along with fresh peppers, onions and garlic into a blender. Do not overfill; this will probably require you to work in batches. Blend until no chunks remain and mixture is silky smooth.
- 5. Pour liquefied chile and vegetable mixture into a large saucepan. Add seasonings and place entire mixture on medium or medium high heat to start.
- 6. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to Low or Medium to permit to simmer until thickened, wonderfully odiferous and smooth. This sauce should have a nice gloss to its surface.
- 7. Leave this to simmer while you prepare your stew meat. This should take about 30 to 45 minutes. Do NOT permit the sauce to burn or scorch.
- 1. Spread stew meat out on a platter and season on both sides with ground pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, Mexican oregano and cumin.
- 2. Dredge seasoned meat in flour so that all sides are well covered.
- 3. Heat corn or vegetable oil in large skillet.
- 4. Add stew meat to hot oil in skillet in batches to permit the meat to sear well and prevent it from steaming and becoming glue-like. As each batch is properly browned on all sides remove the batch to a platter where it will stay warm while you work with the next batch. This will usually require three rounds of searing.
- 5. When all the meat has been browned, add it to a large stockpot.
- 6. Pour water into the hot skillet and stir to loosen all the browned bits. Add this to the stockpot with the meat.
- 7. Add enough water to the stockpot to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to allow the meat to simmer. Cover to keep in the heat and steam the meat to a wonderful tender doneness.
- 8. By the time you’ve prepared all the meat and started the stewing process, your Authentic Red Chile Sauce should be just about ready.
- 9. When your stew meat is tender, add about 3 cups of the Authentic Red Chile Sauce and stir thoroughly. (You can store the rest of the sauce you made in the freezer and use later.)
- 10. Let the meat continue to simmer and soak up the flavors of the chile sauce. After about an hour, the Chile Colorado is ready to serve.
We love this dish served with hot flour tortillas, sides of Mexican rice and refried beans. A few tortilla chips, guacamole and the garnishes make a great meal.
This meat is also fabulous with breakfast. We love to serve it with Mexican rice, refritos and a couple of fried eggs, preferably sunny side up but over medium works, too. For the breakfast version, we like to pair it with fresh orange slices or cantaloupe perfectly chilled. A hot Mexican coffee with chocolate and heavy cream makes the meal pure perfection!