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    Cal-Tex Chili & Pinto Beans

    Cal-Tex Chili & Pinto Beans

    Photo by Foodiewife F.

    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.

    • Prep Time


    • Cook Time


    • Servings



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    • 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

    • Guacamole


    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.