Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Chile con Carne (Red Chile Beef)

Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5-6 hours
Servings: 8 servings
A hot bowl of chile con carne slow cooked in the slow cooker ready for dinner or the weekend! Satisfy your red chile cravings today!

The days and nights are cooler and my thoughts turn to a warm bowl of chile con carne out of my slow cooker. This recipe for red chile beef is the ultimate! No fillers, just tender cuts of beef slow cooked in a red chile sauce. And whether you like chile con carne with a stack of warm flour tortillas or a nice helping of fresh baked cornbread, it will satisfy those chili cravings.

The use of the masa harina as a thickener adds a subtle corn flavor to the recipe and also makes this dish gluten-free! Fill your home with delicious aromas and welcome your friends this weekend with a warm bowl of this red chile beef.


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  1. Season the beef with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin. Keep the spices on hand for adding more to recipe later. In a large skillet, preheat 1/4 cup of oil to medium heat.
  2. At the same time, add 3 cups of broth to your slow cooker and turn heat to high. Sear the beef on all sides and transfer it to the slow cooker as you do this. Add the bay leaves, 1/2 of onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Cover slow cooker.
  3. To a sauce pan, add the dried chiles, remaining onion and garlic. Cover with water anf bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until peppers turn bright red and soften. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chiles, onion and garlic to the blender. Add 1 cup of broth, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and salt to taste. Blend on high for 45 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of blender. Blend on high for another minute.
  5. Strain the sauce, with a wire-mesh strainer, directly into the slow cooker. Stir well to combine, cover and continue cooking on high for 4-5 hours or until beef is tender.
  6. Once beef is tender, now we can add the masa harina. Add the masa harina to a bowl. Using a whisk, ladle in some of the sauce from the slow cooker with the masa harina. You will need to add at least a full cup or more to make a smooth slurry. Whisk, making sure there are no lumps. Add this slurry back into the slow cooker, whisking the whole time to incorporate in into the chile con carne.
  7. Here is where you will add any final seasoning to suit your taste. I often will add a little more cumin and oregano. Taste for salt. Cover and cook for 30 more minutes. If the sauce is too thick, you could add a little more broth. It should be served with plenty of sauce.

Chef Notes

If you cannot find masa harina to thicken the chile con carne, you can use all purpose flour. Combine 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter with 3 tablespoons of flour. Whisk until you have a smooth slurry. After chile con carne has cooked 3/4 of the way, whisk the flour/butter slurry in to the slow cooker until smooth. It should only take a few minutes to thicken.

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