Beef Chile Rojo

Chile rojo is a Mexican staple recipe very easy to make at home. A warm and comforting stew made with a chili sauce which you can easily adjust the spiciness to your liking.

This delicious dish can be served for any weeknight dinner as a main dish alongside with warm corn or flour tortillas, beans, and rice.

Beef chile rojo on a pan.

What is chile rojo?

Chile rojo refers to a dish made with meat and a red spicy sauce from Mexico. There’s not only a way of making this recipe; actually there are many variations and all of them are authentic and delicious.

The meat for this dish can be of various type but the most used are beef and pork and it can also be cut in many ways, such as strips, small bites, chunks, slices, etc.

Pork chile rojo on a clay pan served with flour tortillas.
Pork meat with Chile rojo

The salsa

The chile rojo refers to a red sauce made with tomatoes, and chilies, mostly red and hot. It doesn’t matter if they’re fresh or dry as long as they are red. Other types of chilies -like guajillo or pasilla– can be added to achieve that bright, red color.

The spices can vary too, mostly depending on the region this dish is made. Pepper, cumin, oregano, marjoram, and garlic are the most common for this recipe.

All ingredients for the salsa displayed on a marble surface.

Step by step recipe

Clean the chilies by removing the stems and seeds. Chile de árbol is a little bit more difficult to deseed so add a small amount as they will be the ones adding the spiciness.

Place tomatoes on a pot and add enough water to cover them. Boil until tomatoes are tender (about 10 minutes). Turn off the heat, add chilies and push them down with a spoon to make sure they are well immersed into the hot water. Allow to rest for 10 minutes or until the chilies are soft and everything is lightly cool.

tomatoes and chilies boiled on a pot.

Add tomatoes and chilies to a blender with cumin and garlic. Add one cup of beef stock or water and blend until you will have a smooth sauce. Set aside.

Salsa chili on a blender.

Cut the meat as you prefer: Slices, strips, small bites, etc. Then season with salt and pepper. Heat oil on a cooking pan over medium heat. Add meat and sear until golden brown on all sides.

The meat fried on a pan.

Pour in the sauce, simmer for 2 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, then add 2 cups (about 1/2 L) of warm beef stock or water. Bring to a boil.

The stew (chile rojo) cooking on a pan.

Set heat at low. Cover the pan and let the stew simmer for about 45 minutes, mixing from time to time. If the sauce gets too thick, just add a little bit more warm water or stock.

Let the sauce reduce to the consistency you prefer. Taste for salt, turn off the heat and serve while is still hot/warm with your favourite Mexican side dishes.

How to serve

I usually serve this chile rojo with a side of de la olla beans, corn tortillas, sometimes red rice or Mexican white rice. And, If you are making it for a Mexican themed night, you can also serve guacamole, pico de gallo salsa and chips as starter.

For drinking I suggest trying one of our frescas, like horchata & strawberry, pineapple agua fresca, or lemon & chia fresca. For dessert you can serve a simple arroz con leche or sweet pineapple tamales.

carne con Chile rojo (Mexican beef stew)

Notes

  1. You can find chile pasilla, chile ancho or chile guajillo at any latinoamerican store or also in Amazon. But if you can’t find that type, you can replace the amount of chilies needed with 2 tablespoons of paprika (any type you prefer).
  2. If you don’t like spicy, just leave out arbol chilies. The recipe will be delicious any way.
  3. If you cut the meat in chunks the cooking time will increase for about one hour, so keep in mind that.

Watch How To Make It

Beef chile rojo

Chile rojo beef is a Mexican staple recipe very easy to make at home. A warm and comforting stew made with a chili sauce which you can adjust the spiciness to your liking.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 1 hour
TOTAL 1 hour 10 minutes
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ lbs (680 g) beef chuck steak (cut into small bites)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (or any oil you prefer)
  • salt and pepper

For chile rojo sauce

  • 2 medium (250 g) tomatoes
  • 1 small (80 g) onion (cut into chunks)
  • 2-3 chile de árbol (optional or adjust to your liking)
  • 4 pasilla or guajillo chilies (seeded)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
  • water or beef stock (about 3-4 cups)

Instructions

  • Place tomatoes on a pot and add enough water to cover them. Boil until tomatoes are tender (about 10 minutes).
  • Turn off the heat, add chilies and push them down with a spoon to make sure they are well immersed into the hot water. Allow to rest for 10 minutes or until the chilies are soft and everything is lightly cool.
  • Add tomatoes, onion and chilies to a blender with cumin and garlic. Add one cup of beef stock or water and blend until you will have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
  • Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat oil on a cooking pan over medium heat. Add meat and sear until golden brown on all sides.
  • Pour in the sauce, simmer for 2 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, then add 2 cups (about ½ L) of warm beef stock or water. Bring to a boil.
  • Set heat at low. Cover the pan and let the stew simmer for about 45 minutes or until the meat is very tender. Mix from time to time. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little bit more hot water or stock.
  • Let the sauce reduce to the consistency you prefer. Taste for salt, turn off the heat and serve.

NOTES

  1. You can find chile pasilla, chile ancho or chile guajillo at any latinoamerican store or also in Amazon. But if you can’t find that type, you can replace the amount of chilies needed with 2 tablespoons of paprika (any type you prefer).
  2. If you don’t like spicy, just leave out arbol chilies. The recipe will be delicious any way.
  3. If you cut the meat in chunks the cooking time will increase for about one hour, so keep in mind that.
Nutrition
Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 818mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1547IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 4mg
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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your great recipes! God bless you!

    If mine turns out half as good as this, I’ll consider it a success for sure. Really love all the extra efforts and details you put into this…keep them coming, we appreciate them very much.

    1. Hi Dorothy, sorry! I totally forgot to write where it goes. I edited the recipe card now, onion should be blended with the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Thank you for noticing :)

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