Chile Con Carne Colorado-Style Burritos Recipe

The beefy and cheesy family classic that chef Aaron Sanchez turns to every time he is home.

Servings: 6
Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 3 ½ hours


6 ¾ cups|1.6 liters chicken stock, divided
4 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed
4 dried árbol chiles, stemmed and de-seeded
3 dried ancho or pasilla chiles, stemmed and de-seeded
3 pounds|1.5 kilograms chuck or brisket
¼ cup|50 ml grapeseed or vegetable oil, divided
1 large white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, divided
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 bay leaves
¾ cups|150 grams long-grain white rice
1 medium tomato (4 to 6 ounces|110 to 170 grams)
6 large (12-inch|30-cm) flour tortillas
1 cup|90 grams shredded sharp cheddar or jack cheese
½ cup|60 grams crumbled cotija cheese
4 radishes, thinly sliced


  1. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups|473 ml stock to a simmer. Meanwhile, set a skillet over medium-high and toast the peppers (in batches, if need be) until they’re fragrant, slightly charred, and a little more pliable. Transfer them to a heatproof bowl, pour the simmering stock over them (weight down with a small bowl if they won’t stay submerged), and set aside to steep for 30 minutes. When they’re soft, cut them open and scrape out some or all of the seeds (leave them in for spicier chile), then use a blender to purée them with the steeping liquid until completely smooth.
  2. Trim the fat from the beef and cut it into approximately 1-inch cubes; season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Warm 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high until it starts to shimmer. Separately, line a baking sheet with paper towels or a metal rack.
  4. Working in batches, sear pieces of beef on one side, leaving space between them so you don’t crowd the pan; cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely browned. Transfer immediately to the lined sheet, leaving one side raw (this helps it stay tender when it braises), and repeat with the rest.
  5. Decrease the heat to medium. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the onion for the rice; add the rest to the pot along with the bell pepper, carrot, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Sauté until the onion is soft with a little color, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in 4 cloves of minced garlic, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon and toast for a minute or two, until fragrant.
  6. Add the beef back to the pot along with the bay leaves, chili sauce, and 3 cups stock. Increase the heat to high just until the sauce comes to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is falling-apart tender, 2 ½ to 3 hours.
  7. Meanwhile, make the rice: Finely chop the tomato and reserved 2 tablespoons onion, mince 2 cloves of garlic, and stir them together with 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  8. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and shake the sieve to get rid of excess water. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil until it’s shimmering. Stir in the rice to coat evenly in the fat, then decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the rice is fragrant and lightly golden.
  9. Stir in the chopped tomato mix and cook for a couple minutes, until the tomatoes have melted into the rice. Pour in the remaining 1 ¾ cups|414 ml broth and bump the heat back to medium-high until the liquid is simmering. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. If the rice finishes cooking but there is still more liquid, uncover the pot and keep cooking until the steam evaporates.
  10. Remove the saucepan from the heat and sandwich a clean dish towel between the lid and the pot; this helps absorb extra steam. After 15 minutes or so, fluff with a fork.
  11. To make the burritos, preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C. Spread a ladleful of the chili sauce over the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Using a slotted spoon, scoop some beef into the center of each tortilla; add some rice. Wrap burrito-style and arrange the burritos snugly, seam side down, in the dish. Ladle more sauce over all the burritos to cover, then sprinkle with the shredded cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned. Garnish with cotija cheese and sliced radishes; serve with a knife and fork (and napkin).

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This recipe has been reprinted with permission of the author from Where I Come From: Lessons From a Latino Chef.

Get recipes like this and more in the Munchies Recipes newsletter. Sign up here .