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Cal-Tex Chili & Pinto Beans


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.

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Rate this recipe 4.3/5 (8 Votes)


  • Mexican Spice Blend:
  • 5 pounds beef brisket, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 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
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 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
  • Guacamole


Servings 8
Preparation time 30mins
Cooking time 150mins
Adapted from


Step 1

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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