Chili Colorado is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. Unfortunately, like many such dishes quality varies greatly when ordering it at restaurants. So I have learned to develop my own recipe. This is my version of Instant Pot Chili Colorado.
Chili Colorado has nothing to do with the U.S. state of Colorado. In Spanish the word Colorado means colored red. It actually appears that Colorado got its name from the red rocks or possibly the red silt in some of the rivers (there is debate over this).
Anyways, Chili Colorado is named for its red sauce. This sauce is the crucial ingredient of Chili Colorado. Outside of the sauce, this is basically a stew and different recipes call for different meats. Many versions contain pork. However, when we do a Mexican pork stew I defer to Erin’s Pork Chili Verde. Chili Verde is a close cousin to Chili Colorado but features a green sauce.
For my Chili Colorado I use beef. I take a 3 pound chuck roast and cut into stew sized cubes. The meat is rubbed lightly in a flour, salt and pepper mix and browned. At that point, you add the spices, broth and tomatoes. It is then cooked for 3 to 4 hours until the meat has become tender.
As I have gotten into pressure cooking this has become my favorite way to cook stews. Chili Colorado is no exception. Using my Instant Pot, I can get amazing flavor after less than an hour of cooking time. It is also a one pot method where you brown the beef in the Instant Pot.
The key ingredient in Chili Colorado is the spice. I have a recipe for my own custom homemade Chili Powder. I make this in large batches every couple of months. Chili powder is a personal taste preference. My chili powder I would say has a medium heat. I adjust the heat level to my audience by adding cayenne pepper.
I have had Chili Colorado at Mexican restaurants that is off the charts in terms of the level of spice. I love this when I am in the mood for spicy, but most of my friends and family would not tolerate this level of heat. My recipe is more on the medium/mild side.
The final issue is how thick you want the stew. I add a paste made by combining equal amounts masa harina and water. Add a little at a time until you get the desired thickness.
With my version of Chili Colorado I tend to have quite a bit of sauce leftover. This sauce can be frozen and used to make enchilada style casseroles or as a topping for burritos.
Chili Colorado is eaten as a traditional stew or can be rolled up in a tortilla to make a burrito. We usually serve it with tortillas, cheese, cilantro, diced onions and other accompaniments on the side. Everyone is free to customize to their own liking.
Make sure to check out our recipe for Homemade Chili Powder.
Chili Colorado is a hearty mexican stew. This is my version using beef and can be made in a pressure cooker/Instant Pot. I use my own homemade chili powder.
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 3 pounds chuck roast cut into 1 to 1 ½ inch cubes
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tablespoons chili powder preferably homemade
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less to desired heat
- 3 cups chicken broth can also use beef broth
- 1 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 10 oz cans Rotel or diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons masa harina more or less to desired thickness
Combine flour, salt and pepper in bowl and add beef. Toss to coat beef. Heat oil in skillet or Instant Pot and brown meat on all sides for about 5 minutes. Remove meat to bowl and set aside.
Add diced onion cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another two minutes. Add spices and stir to combine. Add broth, vinegar and tomatoes and combine. Add meat.
If using pressure cooker or Instant Pot lock lid and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Let it naturally release for 15 minutes. If cooking in skillet, heat to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 3 to 4 hours until tender.
In small bowl combine masa harina with equal amount of water. Add slowly to stew and combine to desired thickness.
Serve with tortillas, cheese, cilantro, onions and any other desired garnishes.