I have a huge love for chili. For me, it’s next to none when it comes to winter comfort foods. A piping hot bowl of beans, veggies, thick, spicy tomato-based sauce, and sometimes meat- topped with refreshing cilantro and a few chunks of cooling avocado. Ahhh- perfection. As I’m sure you can imagine, have tried a lot of chili variations. Sweet potato black bean has been my personal favorite, thick and hearty tempeh chili is up there too- but one chili I had not attempted was chili colorado.
I’d seen it on blogs, here and there- but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. Plus, it was heaping with meat, which, for a long time I stayed away from. But now, as a conscious meat eater again, I had no excuses.
Turns out it’s really just a spicy red stew with chunks of red meat, made hot by (most often) homemade chili paste made from cooked dried chilies.I could do that!
I just happened to have a slew of dried chiles on hand (I know- this is a chef’s pantry, we’re talking about), so I put them to good use and made up my very first Chili Colorado- slow-cooker style.
Crock Pot Chili Colorado
2 large mild dried chilies (I used ancho chiles- dried poblanos)
2 large hot dried chilies> feel free to use milder chiles for a less spicy chili
handful small dried red chilies (chile de arbol)
6 cups water
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 large green bell pepper, roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
2.5 pounds stew beef
1 6-oz can organic tomato paste
1 28-oz can organic diced tomatoes
1 batch spicy chile paste (see above)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt
Juice of 1/2 lime
Avocado and cilantro, for topping
1. To prepare chili paste, crack stems of chiles and dump out as many seeds as possible. Place in a medium sauce pot with water and bring to a boil. Boil on high for five minutes. Reduce to a rolling simmer and cook, covered for 10-15 minutes until chilies are softened. Drain, reserving liquid. Set aside to cool.
2. When chilies are cooled, place in a blender with 1/2 cup cooking liquid to make a thick paste-like sauce.
3. Meanwhile, Place onions, bell pepper and garlic in bottom of crock pot. Cover with stew beef and add tomato paste, stirring well. Top with diced tomatoes,chili paste, sea salt and all spices. Stir well.
4. Cover and cook on low, 6-8 hours until meat is tender. Pour in lime juice, stir and taste for seasoning. Add sea salt as desired, or cayenne if you like it really spicy!
How spicy do you like your chili? I LOVED this one as-is, my husband said it was at his upper limit! Of course, it all depends on the peppers you use!