Green Chile-Braised Beef with Potatoes and Caramelized Onions

Carne de Res Guisada con Chile Verde, Papas y Cebollas
Servings: 6servings


  • 2tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, fresh-rendered pork lard or bacon drippings
  • 2pounds boneless beef short ribs or boneless beef chuck, cut into 3-inch pieces (when using chuck, I buy a beef chuck roast and cut it into roughly 2-inch chunks)
  • Salt
  • 3largefresh poblano chiles
  • 2medium white or red onions, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1pound small red- or white-skin boiling potatoes (I like ones that are about 1 inch across; if they're larger I cut them in halves or quarters)
  • Hot fresh green chiles to taste (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed, seeded if you wish and roughly chopped
  • 115-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 2tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1 1/2cups beef broth
  • Fresh hierbas de olor (aromatic herbs such as a few bay leaves plus a few sprigs of thyme and marjoram if you have them—otherwise a sprinkling of the same dried herbs will work)


In the stovetop-safe insert of your slow cooker or a very large (12-inch) skillet, heat the oil, lard or bacon drippings over medium-high. When hot, sprinkle the beef chunks generously all over with salt, then lay them in the pan in a single, uncrowded layer.  Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total.

While the beef is browning, roast the chiles over an open flame or close up under a preheated broiler, turning them regularly, until evenly blackened and blistered, about 5 minutes for open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler.  Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and cool until handleable.  Rub off the blackened skin, pull out the seed pod and scrape out the seeds.  Rinse briefly to remove any stray seeds and bits of blackened skin.  Chop the roasted chile into ½-inch pieces.

When the beef is browned, remove it to a plate, leaving behind as much fat as possible.  Reduce the heat under the insert of skillet to medium, then add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and richly golden, about 10 minutes.  If you’re using a skillet, transfer the onions to the slow cooker.

Distribute the potatoes, roasted poblanos and hot green chiles over the onions, smoothing everything evenly over the bottom.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Lay the beef pieces in a single layer over the potatoes.  Distribute the tomatoes on top.  Sprinkle on the Worcestershire, then pour the beef broth over and around the meat. Nestle in (or sprinkle over) the herbs.  Cover and turn the slow cooker on to high.  Your Green Chile-Braised Beef will be done in 6 hours, though you can hold it for longer.  (My slow-cooker can be programmed to switch from high after 6 hours to a keep-warm low temperature for up to another 6 hours. Some slow cookers click to keep-warm automatically; others need to be switched manually.)

When you’re ready to serve, remove the meat to a large, deep plate and coarsely shred it.  Stir everything in the slow cooker, taste it and season with salt, usually about ½ teaspoon depending on the saltiness of the broth.  Mix in the beef, spoon onto warm tortillas or into deep plates.


  1. This dish is a sleeping giant. Rich, rich flavor and only modest prep required ( plus time, for sure). I’ve made it in a Dutch oven in the oven at 325 for about four hours. Try subbing wine for beef broth and you’d think Batali in Oaxaca or Bayless in Rome.

  2. Well, I could not get all the tomatoes in my large crock pot, so I only put a little more than half of them in there and it was plenty juicy! This was more like a stew or soup. Not what I was expecting and not to put on a tortilla by any means, way too juicy. After a few squirts of Tabasco sauce, it was much better. I must say I was disappointed.

    1. Jane, I’m guessing you read the recipe as a 115 ounce can rather than 1, 15 ounce can, though I did drain most of the juice first, because I made them sous vide.

  3. Made this for dinner this past weekend. OMG! Awesome!! Threw all the ingredients in the slow cooker set it on high for 6 hours. The flavors blended so well. I used a chuck pot roast for the beef. It came out so tender and moist. Served it with warn corn tortilla’s – taco style!

    Next time, I’m gonna offer sour cream and sliced avocado as a garnish for the tacos.

    This recipe is definitely a comfort food keeper!!

  4. Made this for dinner and it was fantastic! I left the seeds in the peppers and it was just the right amount of spice for the spicy lover in me and for others who don’t like super spicy food. The only thing is that I found out the hard way that there is a difference between a regular slow cooker and a “stove safe” slow cooker. I never heard of a stove safe slow cooker insert and just thought that was what it was called. So make sure you have a stove top safe slow cooker and not just the one commonly sold in stores. After my pot cracked while cooking the meat, I put it in the a Dutch oven and cooked it in the oven instead and it came out great.

  5. I made this for dinner and it was fantastic! I left the seeds in and it was the right amount of spice for the spice lover in me and for others who don’t like super spicy food. The only thing is that I have never heard of a “stove top safe” insert for a slow cooker and thought that was what that was called. Well I found out quickly and the hard way that there is a difference. While browning the meat my insert cracked and I had to use my Dutch Oven to cook it in the oven instead. Guess I should invest in a “stove top safe” slow cooker…. However, even with the mishap it came out great!

  6. this is a really good recipe,the beef was very tender and the seasoning was very flavorful. everyone thought this was a great meal that I’ll make again!

    1. Rick has a Tru and an All Cald – both have cast iron inserts that are stovetop safe. The ceramic inserts are not.

  7. My family gives this recipe a 10! Went to My grocer and could not find short ribs so I decided to use beef shank, cut into 2 inch cubes, leaving some meat around the bone. Followed the directions to a T: succulent! Will definitely make again. Thank you Rick!

  8. made this yesterday early in the day and then reheated for dinner – excellent!

    the one big change i made was to cook it in the oven instead of the slow cooker. per another commenter i cooked it at 325 for 4 hours, it was perfect. i use a dutch oven tightly covered with foil, because i don’t care for the lid mine has. (to reheat i put it back in a really low ~200 oven while i fried up some tortilla chips & heated some flour tortillas. served it with sour cream, crumbled cheese, fresh pico de gallo, and guac.)

    i prepared all the ingredients as listed and instructed (though i did used peeled russet potatoes instead of the little boilers as i already had those on hand), using beef chuck for the meat, dried bay leaves & fresh thyme for the herbs, and 1 serrano, 1 jalapeno, and one chipotle in adobo for the hot peppers (seeds and all). the only other addition i made besides the chipotle (just had one to use up!) was the teaspoon of cumin i added when adding the salt.

    my pot of ingredients absorbed all the liquid leaving no broth behind, so i’m not sure about that part of the recipe or a couple of the comments – but for me it was just right for stuffing into tortillas. i was prepared also to add a squeeze of lime and some extra salt but found it needed neither. once the shredded beef was folded back in the flavor was spot on. complex, tangy, meaty, a nice heat without being over the top spicy.

    it makes a ton though, so with just the two of us we have quite a bit left over. i’ll make some into enchiladas, and will try freezing the rest. not sure how that will work out but worth a shot 🙂

  9. This was one of the best recipes I have found, this was so good, will be making this many more times. Thank you!

  10. Hello! I am trying to throw a party for about 30 people and looking for recipes for bulk chicken. Can this recipe be converted into a chicken recipe? If so, how many times over would I have to make this? We live in New Orleans, nothing tastes as delicious as Rick Bayless’ Mexican food! I am making the pork tinga for folks that eat pork, looking for a good bulk chicken and vegetarian option too. Greatly appreciate any and all help you can offer!!

  11. Can I substitute chicken thighs for beef in this recipe? Are there any adjustments I need to make if I use chicken instead of beef? Thank you

    1. Yes, you can. The only thing I would do different is brown the chicken a few minutes less than the beef. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  12. This was delicious! I followed the recipe as written. It was very tasty, satisfying and family friendly. I seeded the jalapeno to keep my kids happy with a milder heat, but my husband and I added a few slices of jalapeno to ours. We ate this as a stew but it would be great with rice or tortillas. We will definitely make it again.

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