Instant Pot Chile Colorado — Tender chunks of beef simmered in a rich and flavorful sauce made from red chiles is a family favorite comfort food dinner! Made in an Instant Pot to save time although you can make it on the stove or slow cooker. Calling all protein lovers, this hearty Mexican-inspired dish is calling your name!
What Is Chile Colorado?
This tender beef is simmered in a rich and flavorful sauce made from three types of red chile peppers.
To be clear, chile here in chile Colorado isn’t chili. Here we are talking about chile peppers rather than the traditional American concept of chili, which one could say usually include a variety of beans, usually meat, and usually tomatoes.
Chile Colorado has no beans, and really is just about the meat that’s simmered in a chile based salsa, or mixture.
For anyone wanting a comfort food protein-fueled meal, chile Colorado is exactly what you need to put on your menu this week.
Serving chile Colorado with rice is the way to go because the rice perfectly sops up the extra chile broth although you can use tortillas or bread instead.
Making the recipe in an Instant Pot cuts down the time dramatically making this a totally do-able weeknight comfort food recipe ready in under an hour the whole family will enjoy.
Finally, if you’re looking for a naturally gluten-free recipe, this stew-like dish is free from gluten as written.
Ingredients in Beef Chile Colorado
To make classic Chile Colorado in a modern way using an Instant Pot, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Oil – I used vegetable, but any is fine.
- Beef stew meat
- Chile Ancho – Adds great flavor to the dish!
- Chile Pasilla
- Chile Guajillo
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Onion – I like to use white, but any will work fine
- Mexican oregano – can be found in the Mexican aisle. This has a milder flavor than regular oregano, but regular can be substituted.
- Smoked paprika – you can substitute with regular.
- Maseca – Mexican cornmeal that is used to make tortillas and tamales. It helps thicken the broth. You can blend a corn tortilla or a piece of toast in the blender with a bit of the broth and then add it instead.
How to Make Chile Colorado in an Instant Pot
Turn on your Instant Pot to Saute, add the oil, then add the meat in batches to brown it.
Set is aside after it’s browned.
Separately, to a cast iron pan, add the chiles and heat them until pliable, and remove them.
Heat two cups broth until very hot, although not boiling, and submerge the chiles in the broth for about 10 minutes.
Place the soft chiles in a blender with 1 cup of the broth, canned tomatoes, and blend until super smooth.
Pour chile mixture into a sieve or fine mesh strainer, and using a spatula push the mixture through, leaving the pulp behind and then discard it.
Add the onions to the Instant Pot, saute for a few minutes, and then pour the chile mixture into the Instant Pot, followed by the spices, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Place the seared meat back in the Pot, add the remaining 3 cups broth, cover, and seal the Instant Pot. Set it to the Meat setting for 30 minutes.
After the time has elapsed, do a natural release for 10 minutes, then a quick release.
Spoon out 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture, mix it with maseca, and stir it back in.
Turn the Instant Pot to Saute and cook for an additional 10 minutes to thicken the sauce a bit before tasting.
Add more salt or pepper if desired, and then serving your finished Chile Colorado with rice, tortillas, or bread.
Do I Have to Use an Instant Pot for This Recipe?
No you don’t. You will need to make the red chile sauce first.
Then separately you can sear and brown the beef in a cast iron pan on the stove, add the sauce to it, and allow the beef to simmer for 60 to 90 minutes, or until it’s tender.
The advantage of an Instant Pot is that it cuts down the simmer-and-wait time dramatically.
You could also make this in a slow cooker by making the sauce first. Then, I recommend searing the beef first in a cast iron skillet, then adding it to your slow cooker with the sauce. However you could probably toss the beef and sauce in together and just slow cook away.
Likely you’ll slow cook for 3 to 6 hours depending on whether it’s set to high or low, the size of the protein cubes, how fast your slow cooker cooks, and so forth.
Types of Chiles to Use for Chile Colorado
For my chile Colorado, I used a combination of chile ancho, chile pasilla, and chile guajillo.
You can also add chile de arbol. They are smaller and brighter red in color and have more heat.
Check in your mainstream well-stocked supermarket to find dried chiles or order any of them on Amazon. If you have Mexican markets in your area, these chiles are staples in Mexican cooking and you’ll find them in almost any mercado.
As a bonus, dried chiles keep for a year in a dry cupboard or pantry and are very inexpensive making them a no-brainer to have on hand since they are powerhouses when it comes to adding flavor to sauces and dishes.
Is Chile Colorado Spicy?
In my opinion, no it’s not because none of the three types of chiles used — ancho, pasilla, or guajillo — are spicy.
If you want more heat, add a couple chiles de arbol.
You can also sprinkle in a couple dashes of cayenne pepper, too, at the end when I encourage you to taste the sauce and make sure the salt and pepper ratio is to your liking.
If you’re craving more kick, a little cayenne will do the trick.
What Kind Of Meat is Best for Chile Colorado?
I recommend using beef stew meat such as beef chuck shoulder or beef roast.
Additionally, you can use pork shoulder or pork butt.
Above all, you want to select a protein with a little more fat in it that can cook well in an Instant Pot.
What Kind of Broth is Best in Chile Colorado?
You can use beef broth, chicken, or even vegetable broth if you prefer. All will have a slightly different flavors, but will work fine.
Alternatively, you can also use water and add some bouillon.
I prefer to use lower sodium broths when possible but it’s up to you. As a result, you may need to add more salt at the end if you opt for a low or reduced-sodium broth.
Tips for Making Beef Chile Colorado
When you are heating the chiles on the stove and then the broth before submerging them and waiting for them to soften, this can be done in the microwave, too.
Place the chiles in a large microwave safe dish and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of broth and heat for an additional 2 minutes. The broth should be very hot. Make sure the chilis are submerged in the broth and let them sit for 10 minutes.
After the chiles have softened and you’re removing them and placing in a blender canister, along with 1 cup of broth, make sure you are only using broth from the top because no matter how much you wash chiles, there is always some sediment and dirt that will release into the soaking liquid.
You want to be sure to avoid getting sediment into the blender because obviously you don’t want to consume that.
Chile Colorado tastes as good in the days following so it’s a guarantee everyone will clamor for the leftovers.
Plus, it freezes great so you can toss extra into freezer-safe containers and you’ll have dinner waiting for those nights when you’re too busy or tired to think about cooking anything. Meal prep recipes are so helpful to have on hand!
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Instant Pot Chile Colorado
- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 pounds beef stew meat, diced into bite-sized cubes* (See Notes)
- 5 cups broth, divided (beef, chicken, or vegetable; I prefer low salt versions)
- 4 ancho chiles, deseeded and washed
- 2 pasilla chiles, deseeded and washed
- 2 guajillo chiles, deseeded and washed
- one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, I used fire-roasted
- ½ medium white or yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, regular paprika may be substituted** See Notes
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, regular dried oregano may be substituted
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons maseca***, See Notes
- Turn on your Instant Pot to Saute, add the oil, then add the meat in batches to brown it, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Set is aside after it’s browned.
- To a separate cast iron pan, heat the chiles over medium-high heat until pliable; set them aside.
- Heat 2 cups of the broth (reserve the remaining 3 cups) until very hot. Cover the chiles with the hot broth (either add them to the pan or put them in a large enough bowl and then pour the broth over the top.**** (See Notes)
- Place the softened chiles in the canister of a blender, add 1 cup of the soaking broth, and blend until super smooth. Very important tip - Make sure you are only using broth from the top because no matter how much you wash chiles, there is always some sediment and dirt that will release into the soaking liquid and you don't want to transfer this into the blender so carefully make sure you're just using 1 cup of sediment-free broth from the top of your soaking bowl. Discard everything else that remains.
- Add the canned diced tomatoes and blend again until very smooth.
- Take the very smooth blended chile mixture and pour it into a sieve or fine mesh strainer, and using a spatula push the mixture through, leaving the pulp behind and then discard it; set strained mixture aside.
- To the Instant Pot, add the onions, and Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened; if the Pot is too hot and onions are browning too fast, just turn it off and keep cooking with the residual heat that remains.
- Pour the reserved chile sauce into the pot, add the paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic, and stir to combine.
- Add the reserved browned meat, add the 3 cups reserved and previously unused broth, and stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, seal, turn it to the Meat setting, and set the time for 30 minutes.
- When the time is finished, allow it to do a Natural Release for 10 minutes.
- Then do a Quick Release.
- Spoon out 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture, stir in the maseca, and stir this back into the Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute, and saute for about 10 minutes to thicken the sauce a bit.
- Taste the mixture, and if desired, add additional salt, pepper, etc. to taste.
- Serve with rice, tortillas, or bread. Extra Chile Colorado will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently as desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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