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Cal-Tex Chili & Pinto Beans

  • 8 servings
  • Mins
    Prep Time
  • Mins
    Cook Time

I originally spotted this recipe on The Barefoot Contessa, and it was called“Devon’s Award-Winning Chili”. I adapted the recipe by replacing kidney beans with pinto beans, and I used cilantro instead of basil (which I thought was an odd herb for a Mexican themed chili). This recipe uses brisket, that is seared before simmering with fresh bell peppers and tomatoes. We thought it was flavorful and could be easily adapted as a slow-cooker recipe.


5 pounds beef brisket, cut in 1-inch cubes
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Mexican Spice Blend*
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed (or up to 1 Tablespoon if you like it hot and spicy)
2 green peppers (or 1 red and 1 green), seeded and diced
6 cups tomatoes (Roma/Plum recommended), chopped with their liquid
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
½ cup strong coffee
2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Mexican Spice Blend:
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. oregano
Serve with:
Sour cream
Grated Cheddar
Diced tomato
Tortilla chips
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Pat the brisket cubes dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a very large heavy-bottomed pot and quickly brown the meat, in batches, on all sides. Transfer the brisket to a separate bowl and set aside. Saute the onion and garlic in the same oil over medium heat until limp, but not brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the Mexican Spice Blend and saute for 1 minute; add the red pepper flakes and cayenne (if using). Add the green/red bell peppers, bay leaf, tomatoes with their juice, the reserved meat, the beef broth, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt, to taste; adjust seasonings to your liking. Add the coffee, cover the pot and simmer for 1 more hour. Add the pinto beans and cilantro, and warm through. Transfer the chili to a large serving bowl and serve with sour cream, grated Cheddar, diced tomato, tortilla chips and guacamole. NOTE: You can substitute kidney beans, if you prefer.

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