Diego chef Christina Olivarez lets you in on a family secret

Diego’s chile colorado is the perfect winter weather dish.
Photo: Adam Shane

Looking for a hearty winter recipe? Chef Christina Olivarez of Diego at MGM Grand has you covered with her version of chile colorado. “It’s something my great-grandmother used to make when I was a kid,” the chef says. “I remember she always put potatoes into it, maybe because I was a picky eater as a child. I always ate the potatoes and liked the sauce a lot.” As an homage, Olivarez uses a crispy potato garnish when serving the dish at Diego. You can add whatever you like to this tender, New Mexico chili-based beef dish.

Diego MGM Grand, 891-3200. Sunday-Friday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Saturday, 5-10 p.m.

Chile Colorado

(serves 4-5)


2 lbs. boneless beef short ribs

4 oz. New Mexico chilies (about 8 chilies)

5 cloves garlic, dry-roasted

1 medium onion, cut into chunks and dry roasted

1 tsp. ground cumin

1¼ tsp. ground dried Mexican oregano

1 quart beef broth or stock

Marinade Ingredients:

6 oz. New Mexico chilies (about 12 chilies)

10 cloves garlic, dry-roasted

3 tsp. ground cinnamon or Mexican canela

1 clove

1½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. ground dried Mexican oregano

2½ tsp. ground dried thyme

¾ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. kosher salt

Method: To dry-roast garlic and onions, cook in a 375-degree oven on a cookie sheet with no oil until they become dark brown but remain soft. For the marinade, remove stems and seeds from chilies. Toast them in a dry pan over medium-high heat for about one minute, turning occasionally. Place them in a bowl, cover with warm water and allow to rehydrate. Once the chilies have set, puree with water (only enough to make the blender go), then strain through a sieve to remove remaining seeds. Combine the puree with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

To make the chile colorado, heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat the short ribs in the chili marinade, a day in advance for extra flavor. Process chilies into a puree in the same manner as the marinade recipe. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and season the short ribs with salt before searing until they are a deep caramel brown on all sides. Remove short ribs from pan and reduce the heat to medium, then add chili puree to the pan with beef drippings. Cook for about two minutes until the puree thickens. Add roasted onions and garlic, cumin, oregano and stock. Add the meat back to the sauce, cover and place in the oven, allowing to braise for three to four hours or until very tender. Check the meat every hour, adding stock if necessary to thin liquid. Serve with beans and tortillas, and spoon the braising liquid on top.

Tags: Dining
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