While I scrolled through Pinterest one evening I kept seeing pins of beef covered with a beautiful red sauce, called Chile Colorado. I had no idea the state of Colorado liked chile so much! I soon learned that the Spanish name translates to “red chile” and has nothing to do with the state. The beautiful red meat intrigued me and I looked further into how to make this (hopefully) delicious dish.
As with most recipes there are numerous variations from using canned enchilada sauce to chile powders to rehydrating dried chile peppers. I chose the latter. Though it takes the most time I hoped the results yields the most flavor and authenticity (although this would be the first time I’ve had Chile Colorado so I can’t verify authenticity). I can only verify that the meat is tender and delicious.
Along with fresh chile peppers our produce department carries dried chile peppers. Many times I’ve overlooked them and didn’t think to ever cook with them. Honestly it looked like too much work. It does take more time than opening a can of enchilada sauce but the satisfaction of making your own red sauce can’t be beat!
I’ve read that many people eat Chile Colorado with corn bread. But if I’m going to have Mexican food I’m going to include a tortilla on my plate. Call me crazy. I also have a confession which is something that drives my husband nuts. I am an over stuffer. My tacos are usually stuffed with too much meat and toppings so that it never closes property. My husband doesn’t let me make his tacos. I also love to add some veggies to my tacos. I’ve recently started using bagged kale salad to top my tacos. It adds crunch and makes them slightly healthier.
To change things up I decided to make nachos for my picky husband. Traditional nachos wouldn’t fit the bill (who wants a pile of tortilla chips with uneven amounts of meat and cheese) so I made my husband individual nachos on tortilla strips. You can shred the beef (because it is just that tender) or place a chunk of stew meat on each tortilla chip. I topped the beef with a generous helping of shredded cheese and placed a baking sheet filled with prepared nachos under a broiler to melt the cheese, for about 4-5 minutes. Once the cheese melts pull them out of the oven and top with sliced avocado, a drizzle of Creamy jalapeno sauce, and a sliced pickled jalapeno. The individual nachos make a perfect appetizer for a gathering or a quick dinner.
- 5 dried New Mexico chiles
- 5 dried Guajillo chiles
- 5 dried chiles de arbol
- 5 dried Ancho chiles
- 2 cups chicken stock, divided
- 4 pounds beef stew meat
- 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (avocado, grapeseed, olive oil)
- 1 onion, diced
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 2 tablespoons chipotle chile powder
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sea salt (I used Alaea Hawaiian sea salt)
- 2 tablespoons ground pepper
- Sour cream, optional
- Creamy jalapeno sauce, optional
- Kale salad or shredded cabbage, optional
- Toast dried chile peppers in a large pan over medium heat until chiles are soft and pliable, turning every minute or so. This will take about 5 minutes.
- While the chiles are toasting, heat the chicken stock in a large saucepan. Turn off the heat once the stock starts to boil.
- Once the chiles are slightly toasted and soften, remove the stems and seeds. Place the toasted chiles in the saucepan with 1 cup of chicken stock. Cover for 30 to 45 minutes.
- While the chiles are soaking in the chicken stock brown the stew meat.
- Select the “Sauté” mode on the Instant Pot.
- Once the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and a quarter of the stew meat to the pot. Brown the meat on all sides before transferring to a plate while you brown the other stew meat. Set aside.
- Without cleaning the Instant Pot, sauté the onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add back the browned stew meat to the Instant Pot.
- Place the soaked chiles and chicken stock in a blender (or food processor or use an immersion blender). Blend chiles until smooth.
- Strain the chile puree through a strainer to remove all solids. This will leave you with a smooth sauce.
- Add the red chile sauce, the additional cup of chicken stock, oregano, cumin, chipotle pepper, salt, and pepper over the browned stew meat. You do not need to stir.
- Cover and lock the lid.
- Select “Meat/Stew” mode which defaults to 35 minutes. Make sure to set the top knob to “Sealing” and not “Venting”.
- The Instant Pot will beep at you when it finishes cooking the stew meat and sets itself to “Keep Warm” mode.
- You can let manually release the pressure if you are ready to eat or you can allow the pressure to release naturally.
- We made individual nachos by adding the stew meat (whole piece or shredded) to a tortilla chip and topping with cheese, avocado, Creamy jalapeno sauce , and a sliced pickled jalapeno.
- Other serving suggestions: make a taco (wrapped in a tortilla filled with the beef, cheese, avocado, lettuce, and sour cream), serve over rice, or serve with cornbread.
Adapted from Lexi Bites
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