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This rich, meaty taco filling combines tender, fall-apart beef with a red chili sauce

Beef Chili Colorado Tacos

Appears in May-June 2022

3¾ hours 45 minutes active

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Beef Chili Colorado Tacos

Carne en chile colorado is a Mexican classic, and one of the delicious offerings that appear on the rotating menu at Walter Soto’s El Ruso taqueria trucks that operate in a couple locations in and around Los Angeles. “Colorado” translates from the Spanish as “red-colored,” an apt name for the succulent, stewy dish of meat, sometimes shredded, sometimes not, in a sauce of pureed dried red chilies. Pork is commonly used to make chili colorado, but this version is Paola Briseño-González's ode to El Ruso's rich, robust beef in red chili sauce. The cut of choice is a boneless chuck roast, which boasts plenty of fat and connective tissue so that long, slow cooking yields rich, tender, full-flavored meat. Either guajillo or New Mexico chilies work here; you can even use a combination. Both are a deep red color, have bright, fruity notes with subdued earthiness, and contain only mild chili heat. El Ruso also is well known for its flour tortillas, so that’s the type to serve with the chili colorado for making tacos.

6 to 8



Don’t worry if the beef is not entirely submerged in the chili puree when the chunks are added to the pot. As it cooks, the meat will release some juices. However, if, after about an hour of simmering, the beef is not covered with liquid, stir in ½ cup water to ensure even cooking and prevent drying.

3¾ hours

45 minutes active

John M.
May 25, 2022
Great Taco Filling!
This was an excellent recipe! I made the chili puree the night before starting to cook this mid-morning the next day. Another keeper recipe from Ms. Hill & the Milk Street team. Thanks, folks!
Thanea W.
June 7, 2022
Beef Chili Colorado Tacos
The flavor profile was excellent. However, there was way too much sauce for the amount of meat. I would either reduce the water added to 2 cups or cook it uncovered adding water as needed.
Mark R S.

Disappointing results for the time invested in this recipe. The chili puree had minimal flavor from the start, the 4 cups of water seemed to really dilute any flavor from the chilis. The final dish has a lot of liquid, perhaps there is a step missing to cook off some of the liquid in enhance the flavor?

John M.

I made this recipe today and it tasted really good. I made it exactly as written and the sauce to beef ratio was just about perfect. I don't know what happened with the previous commenter's experience, but the sauce had the consistency of heavy cream in the end as was noted here. I even added the 1/2 cup of liquid (beef broth) after the first hour to cover the meat better. I used Vulcan's Fire Salt at the end for a bit of kick. I'll definitely make this one again. Thanks Ms. Briseño-González, Ms. Hill & Milk Street team once again!

Diana L.

It was not difficult to make. I made it with using dry GUAJILLO. That is all my grocery store had. It does not say if guajillo should be dry or fresh? The sauce itself did not taste much like anything. I kept adding salt and pepper to bring the flavor. I have added 1 tsp of cumin, but I think it needs a lot more flavors. The meat when done did not have much flavor either. Adding back to sauce made a slight difference. Also, I did not add 1/2 cup of water after 1 hour cooking. It did not need it (too much liquid). Next, for this to make it taste good you have to add condiments to your tacos. We have added sour cream, cheese, and Amy's Kitchen Baked Beans (Organic, Traditional) and it made a big difference. The beans are a little sweet.

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