Pork chile colorado, also known as chili colorado or pork asado, is a perfect hearty Mexican comfort food, well known for its brilliant red chile flavored sauce.
Pork chile colorado can be eaten in a bowl, like a stew or chili. It’s also delicious in tacos, burritos and I look forward to using it for tamales.
The name chile colorado simply means red pepper. You can use either pork or beef roast. I’ve chosen pork roast because trying to get beef roast right now, six months into the medical crisis, isn’t as easy as it’s been in the past. I look forward to trying it with beef later.
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For this dish, you will need all the typical spices which I use all the time: salt, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. The only thing I’ve added is achiote powder.
What is achiote?
Achiote is a strong seasoning, made from annatto seed. It is a deep reddish brown and, when used sparingly, can be used primarily for coloring. It has a little bit of a smoky flavoring which reminds me of smoked paprika.
Using the achiote is completely optional for this dish since I’ve used it primarily for coloring. Since it’s very strong, use care not to use too much unless you are familiar with the taste.
Read more about achiote at Spruce Eats.
Dried Mexican chiles
Once you get the spices out of the way, there aren’t many ingredients.
My favorite dried Mexican chiles are California chiles. These are the dried versions of Anaheim peppers that were grown in California. You can also find New Mexico chiles. These are the same chile but grown in New Mexico. It seems a mystery, but the ones from New Mexico are a little more spicy than the ones grown in California. The only explanation is the differences in weather and soil. You can use either chile.
I’ve used an ancho chile which is the dried version of a poblano. I’ve also used a few chile de arbol. Chile de arbol are quite spicy. Three certainly won’t affect the heat too much, though.
If you prefer more heat, you have some options. Using Guajillo chiles will give you the same necessary red color but it will increase the heat.
Adding more chile de arbol will increase the spice but be careful with this one. It’s definitely fairly spicy.
Instead of chile de arbol, you may also think about using pequin chiles. I’m a lightweight when it comes to spicy chiles but, if you’re familiar with them, you can very easily spice this up to your desired level of heat.
To learn more about how much spicy heat is in each chile pepper, view the Scoville Heat Scale which lists several different peppers used here.
What is pork asado?
This dish can also be called pork asado in some parts of Texas and Mexico. Don’t be confused between carne asada and carne asado, though. Asada is the grilled, tenderized skirt steak. Asado is this chile colorado.
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Reconstituting the chiles
When you are using dried Mexican chiles, you will usually want to reconstitute them.
Once you’ve removed the stems and seeds, cover them with water and cook everything on the stove top for about 15 minutes.
This will make the chiles, onion and garlic soft enough to run through a blender to make the sauce.
Before putting the pork in the crock pot, sear it first to seal in the juices.
Slow cooking the pork in the delicious red chile sauce will make it moist and fork tender.
More Mexican food recipes
If you like Mexican food, I have several Mexican food recipes or choose one of these favorites.
- Chicken Molé Tacos with Doña Maria Sauce
- Chipotle Barbacoa Beef with Homemade Adobo
- Traditional Homemade Pork Tamales
Pork Chile Colorado
- Electric Blender
- 6 quart Crock Pot (slow cooker)
- 1 Onion
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 9 Dried Anaheim Chiles
- 3 Chile de Arbol
- 1 Ancho Chile
- 4 cups Beef Broth
- 2 tablespoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Achiote, (optional, for color)
- 2 pounds Pork Loin Roast, like Tyson Pork Loin Ribeye Roast
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Quarter onion. Peel garlic cloves. Stem, seed and rinse all dried chiles. Place all in a medium sauce pan with enough water to cover.
- Place pan on medium high heat and bring to a boil then reduce to low and cover with lid. Allow to cook until everything is heated through and chiles are soft, about 15 minutes.
- With slotted spoon, remove all ingredients from sauce pan to electric blender. Add enough beef broth to allow blender blades to turn easily. Pulse until fully chopped and blended. Pour into clean crock pot and stir in the remaining beef broth. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together baking powder, salt, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano and achiote. Set aside.
- Cut pork roast into bite sized pieces. In medium bowl, mix well with enough spice powder to cover.
- In large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add pork roast pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until seared (about 8-10 minutes).
- Remove pork roast pieces to crock pot and stir together with chile mixture. Add bay leaves and stir gently.
- Cook 3-4 hours on high, or 5-6 hours on low. Remove bay leaves before servng.
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