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Canned chile peppers (Recipe: slow-cooked beef and green chile stew)

Updated January 2012.


It's possible, just possible, that I have more than my share of kitchen toys.

By toys, I don't mean butter wizards and doughnut makers and zero-gravity magnetic spice racks.

I mean serious tools and cookware, in multiples, like tagines and  woks, Microplane graters, half a dozen really good santoku knives and nearly two hundred wooden spoons and utensils.

The current love of my life, however, is a single: it's my new slow cooker.

Like me, the slow cooker loves all kinds of stew, so I've had fun introducing it to my collection of canned chile peppers. Chipotles in adobo and green New Mexico chiles are mainstays in my pantry, along with fire-roasted Anaheim and other green chiles from mild to hot.

Chiles do more than add some kick to your cooking; they also contribute a significant dose of Vitamins A and C, iron and lutein, which has proven benefits for eyesight.


And in case the whole chile-chili-chilli thing is still a bit of a muddle, chile with an "e" is the pepper, chili with an "i" is the stew, and chilli with the double-L is the spelling used in other parts of the world (including Britain, Australia and many Asian countries) for what we here in the United States call chile peppers.

Now, what kind of chili do you make with your chiles?


Slow-cooked beef and green chile stew

If you don't have a slow cooker, make this in a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. I used a 4-quart oval slow cooker. "Stew beef" is a common cut, available in the meat department of your supermarket. Serves 6-8.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 lbs stew beef (boneless beef chuck), cut into two-inch chunks
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 4-oz cans whole green chiles, sliced into thick rounds
1 14-oz can Ro*Tel (diced tomatoes with green chile)
1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped, plus 1 tsp adobo sauce
1/4 cup barbecue sauce, homemade or store-bought
1/4 cup homemade or canned low-sodium beef broth
1 tsp cumin
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp arrowroot or cornstarch


In a large bowl, add the flour. Dry the beef with paper towels, and dredge each piece lightly in the flour.

Heat oil in a large frying pan, and brown the beef on all sides (be careful not to overcrowd the pan; brown the beef in batches). Add browned beef to a 4-quart slow cooker, along with all remaining ingredients except the arrowroot/cornstarch.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours (if using a Dutch oven, cook for 3-4 hours). Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and hot sauce, if needed.

If at the end of the cooking time, the liquid has not thickened to a consistency you like, pour all but half a cup of the liquid into a sauce pan. Pour the remaining half cup of liquid into a measuring cup, and whisk in the arrowroot or cornstarch. Bring the liquid in the sauce pan to a low boil, and add the arrowroot mixture. The sauce will thicken, and you can reunite it with the stew.

Serve hot, over egg noodles or rice. Can be frozen.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Floribean chicken chili
White chili
Football season chili
Turkey mole chili
South End Deep Root Chili

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Mexican beef, hominy and green chile soup, from Soup Chick
Green chile steak melt panini, from Panini Happy
Crockpot recipe for pork and green chile stew, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chile verde, from Simply Recipes
Seven-chile chili, from Homesick Texan

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Here in England, at Lakeland (the great kitchen-gadget store), they are offering a slow cooker/rice cooker/steamer - not expensive either - been planning on buying it soon... especially as my rice cooker is showing its age. That way I can finally get the slow cooker I've wanted, and still have a bit of room left on the counter.

That looks like a very satisfying meal.

I've been debating whether or not to get a slow cooker for ages. On the one hand they seem like a wonderful thing, allowing you to return to a ready and waiting hot meal after a day at work. And then on the other hand I worry that it may turn out to be something I don't use that often. I'd love to hear your take on it. How long have you had yours and how often do you use it?

The stew sounds absolutely wonderful. I love slow-cooked meat, and this recipe sounds like a winner!

In Southeast Asia, I like sliced green chili preserved in vinegar. They are so good with fried or braised rice noodles.

lordy me, no please, no more kitchen gadgets. I´m still in my full-on affair with the rice cooker!

I love to make a black bean soup or chili with chiles, particularly in the slow cooker. I hate to admit that I own 5 slow cookers! One for single serve, one for a medium size dish, one for a crowd, and two matching red ones to use on a buffet!! Yes, I have gadget issues ...

Paul, the slow cooker does take up a bit of room on the counter (or shelf in the cellar, which I'm lucky to have). And I also have a rice cooker, which can be used for steaming or slow cooking, though I admit I've never used mine for anything other than cooking rice (for which it is a miraculous tool).

Julie, I waited for all these years to get a slow cooker, and then I couldn't decide (since I knew I'd be buying just one) which size to get, and what features it should have. I've had mine for two months, and I use it once a week at least. Every Sunday morning I set something to cook, and then we settle in with the Sunday papers and get on about the rest of the day. The advantage for me is that I have much more energy (for cooking, for work, for everything) in the morning, so it's nice to be able to do my "cooking" then, instead of at the end of my day. I'm a big fan -- and I haven't even used it for entertaining yet!

Anh, this stew, which started out as a bit of a "fridge dump", really came together and is delicious.

Tigerfish, I've never used sliced green chili in vinegar. Sounds intriguing!

Lobstersquad, I'm afraid your love affair with the rice cooker will be a lifelong one... but maybe you'll be more adventurous than I am, and you'll use your rice cooker for slow cooking! I know you can do that, if only I can find my instruction book.....

TW, I've heard about people with multiple slow cookers, but I never actually knew one! Wow -- five? You must have a big pantry, too! I'm new to the whole slow cooker thing but I can surely see how it can become addictive. I've made some red beans, but next I do want to do a black bean dish.

Paul is always raving about hatch Green Chili from truckstops. I'm yet to experience that particular pleasure but canned chillis (which you can only get imported and over priced over here) are a worthy tin item in any pantry!

Ah, Lydia.....You are preaching to the choir here! Hatch green? For me, it's the holy grail. I'll take them canned, frozen, or, when possible, freshly roasted. And a slow-cooked beef stew with Hatch green? Can I come to dinner?

Freya, welcome back! One of these years I will get to the Hatch chile festival, where they roast green chiles out in a field. I can't imagine how wonderful that aroma will be....

Toni, I'm with you -- any way I can get 'em. As someone who lived in NM, you must have some great recipes for chiles. If you've posted, please share the links. And yes, please, come to dinner -- and bring more chiles with you!

I had a slow cooker 25 years ago and it disappeared in a move. This last year I've been looking at them again. I've started with a really small one. It makes the most perfect grits and oatmeal ever. Now, I'm thinking a medium one would be very nice. I love Hatch!

Hi Lydia,
I use any "chilli" that I have on hand - fresh (usally birds eye) or canned Chipotles in adobo, or even jalapeños.

Thanks for the lovely stew recipe. Unfortunately I don't have many kitchen gadgets (yet) since I moved to Sydney (unlike mom's kitchen back in Singapore). So, It'll have to make this in a casserole dish and stick it in the oven.

Just want to wish you a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving Lydia! Enjoy!

P.S. I'd love to see what you served :)

MyKitchen, believe it or not this is my very first slow cooker. I'm beginning to understand why people have several in different sizes. I decided since I was only going to buy one, that I'd get a large one. But there's always room for more.....

Nora, this stew will be delicious baked in the oven, or cooked on the stovetop. And any kind of chile peppers will work. I love combining whatever I have on hand.

Hillary, thank you. I'm not really a turkey lover, so we're having turkey-escarole soup as a main course. Hope your Thanksgiving is lovely, too.

A butter wizard? Never heard of that one, but it looks interesting =)

Your stew sounds like it would be full of flavour, mmm.

Kelly-Jane, it's amazing how many gizmos are on the market, things you really never need in the kitchen. Butter wizard is just the tip of the silly iceberg.

I ate my screen.

Tom, mission accomplished!

I found this recipe through Kalyn's (sp?) site and made it over the weekend. One word. DELISH! Thanks for sharing!

TRIPLE YUM!! I am thinking this might be a great dish for sat am!!

I finally made this today. I didn't sear the beef, because I'm too lazy. For me, if I can't just dump everything in my slow-cooker, it's a deal breaker! It was very tasty and I will be making it again. I served it over some leftover Mexican rice casserole that I had in the freezer, and sprinkled some shredded cheddar over the top.
We are spoiled here in AZ. I have ready access to fresh Hatch green chiles in the Fall, and our freezer is always stocked.

Hi good recipe. I don't do Hot. Do I just leave out chipotle in Adobo or use something else mild?

Corinne, you can leave out the chipotle, but there are other hot peppers in this stew. I'd recommend searching the blog for other beef stew recipes rather than taking all of the chile peppers out of this one. (Use the search box at the top right on this page.)

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