Black Bear Chile Colorado

Chile Colorado is a Mexican stew that owes its earthy, brick-red color to a combination of dried chilies: sweet and smoky guajillo and ancho, and also a bit of spiciness with chile de árbol. This dish is traditionally prepared with pork or beef, but it cooked up marvelously well with black bear. Serve it with Mexican rice, refried beans and warm flour tortillas on the side. Or, shred the meat, combine with sauce and top with freshly chopped cilantro and onion for mouthwatering corn-tortilla tacos. You won't need any Tapatio or Valentina sauce with this recipe. 

To adjust the stew's spiciness level, increase or decrease the árbol chilies. 

Servings: 4 
Prep Time: 45 minutes 
Cooking Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes 
- 2 pounds of bear roast, cut into 1½-inch cubes 
- Cooking oil 
- 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour 
- 3 cups of water 
- 2 teaspoons of Knorr Beef Flavored Bouillon 
- 2 bay leaves 
- 3 cloves of smashed garlic 
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 
- Kosher salt, to taste 
- Freshly cracked pepper, to taste 
- Lime wedges 
Chile Colorado Sauce 
- 8 dried guajillo chili peppers 
- 3 dried ancho chili peppers 
- 2 dried arbol chili peppers, adjust to taste for spiciness
- 1 small onion, quartered 
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano 
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, to taste 
- ½ teaspoon of cumin
To Serve 
- Warm tortillas
- Warm refried beans
- Prepared Mexican rice
- Freshly chopped cilantro and onion 


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove stems and seeds from chili peppers– the seeds should just fall out. In a saucepan, submerge dried chilies and a quartered onion in water. Bring to a boil and then take off heat. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, add oil to a Dutch oven and heat over medium-high. Pat bear meat dry with paper towels, season with kosher salt and then toss with flour in a bowl. When oil begins to shimmer and slightly smoke, brown meat in batches for a golden-brown color, adding more oil as needed. Turn off heat, return all the meat to the pot and set aside. 

3. After 20 minutes of steeping, add softened chili peppers, onion, 1 cup of cooking water and remaining sauce ingredients into a food processor. Pulse into a smooth paste; add more cooking water if the mixture is too thick. Next, push and scrape the pulp and juices through a mesh strainer, catching the smooth sauce underneath. Discard solids.

4. Pour chile Colorado sauce over the bear meat. Then stir in 3 cups of water, beef bouillon, garlic and bay leaves. The meat should be fully or nearly submerged. Bring to a boil and then take off heat. 

5. Cover the Dutch oven and bake in a 350°F oven for 2 hours or until bear meat becomes tender. Check the braise halfway through and add more water as needed. Season the stew with salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice, warm tortillas, refried beans and Mexican rice. Or shred the meat to serve in tacos.