Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew with Hearty Root Vegetables

Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew with Hearty Root Vegetables
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About This Recipe

In the heart of Napa Valley, where vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, and the air is filled with the enticing aroma of fermenting grapes, there exists a culinary treasure that perfectly encapsulates the region's rich heritage. I'm speaking of the Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew with Hearty Root Vegetables—a dish that embodies the very essence of Northern California's diverse gastronomy.

The creation of this stew pays homage to California's early settlers. They brought with them a cornucopia of culinary influences and traditions. With its rich blend of flavors, the Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew is reminiscent of those old-world recipes, but with a modern, wine-country twist. The key? Those glorious root vegetables. As the stew simmers, the root vegetables soak up all the juicy, spicy goodness, ensuring every bite is bursting with flavor.

You might wonder what makes root vegetables so integral to this dish. Well, Napa Valley, along with its neighboring region Sonoma, boasts a climate that's ideal for growing a vast array of root vegetables—from carrots and parsnips to more unique varieties like turnips and sweet potatoes. Local farmers, many of whom have been tilling the soil for generations, supply restaurants and homes with fresh, organic root vegetables, ensuring dishes like our stew truly capture the region's authentic flavors.

Yet, what truly elevates this dish to a gastronomic masterpiece is pairing it with the right wine. Here in wine country, we have the privilege of being surrounded by some of the world's most renowned wineries. For this particular stew, two wines stand out as ideal partners: Zinfandel and Syrah.

Zinfandel, with its robust body and peppery notes, beautifully complements the chilmole's spicy kick. Turley Wine Cellars and Ridge Vineyards, both located within a stone's throw of Napa Valley, are masters of the Zinfandel craft. Turley, in particular, has an old-vine Zinfandel that's brimming with character—think dark fruit profiles and a hint of smokiness. Meanwhile, Ridge Vineyards offers Zinfandels that are a testament to balance and fruit expression.

The other commendable pairing is Syrah. This wine, with its dark fruit tones intermingling with hints of spice, mirrors the hearty richness of the beef and root vegetables in our stew. If you're venturing into Sonoma or the hills of Napa, a visit to Shafer Vineyards or Lagier Meredith Vineyard is a must. Shafer's Syrah, full-bodied and aromatic, promises to be a delectable companion for the stew. On the other hand, Lagier Meredith's Syrah, hailing from the slopes of Mount Veeder, is a symphony of elegance and flavor.

When devising a menu that features our Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew with Hearty Root Vegetables, consider starting with a light, fresh salad featuring Napa's finest greens. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc would be an impeccable pairing here. For dessert, a classic panna cotta topped with berries from Sonoma's farms, paired with a Late Harvest Riesling, ensures a sweet ending.

For those visiting or just curious about Napa and Sonoma's culinary landscape, there's a world of flavors waiting to be explored. Whether you're sipping a glass of Zinfandel amidst the sprawling vineyards, savoring a bowl of chilmole stew at a local eatery, or hand-picking root vegetables at a farmer's market, the essence of wine country is palpable in every experience.

As the sun sets over the vineyards, casting a golden hue over the rolling hills, and you find yourself immersed in the flavors of the Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew, you'll understand why Napa Valley and Sonoma are more than just wine regions—they're a testament to the union of nature's bounty and human craftsmanship. So, the next time you're in the mood for a culinary adventure, remember that Napa Valley awaits, with its rich history, luscious wines, and delectable dishes like our beloved stew.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Chilmole Paste

Chilmole paste, also known as "recado negro," is a rich, dark blend originating from the Yucatán Peninsula. It's created from dried, roasted chiles combined with aromatic spices, creating a paste with deep, smoky undertones. In our Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew, the chilmole acts as the heart of the dish, infusing the stew with warmth and complexity. This ingredient adds a unique touch that elevates the stew from a simple beef and vegetable mix to a dish that tells a story of tradition, culture, and flavor.

How to Perfectly Brown Your Beef

  1. Ensure your beef stew meat is at room temperature. This ensures even cooking.
  2. Pat the beef cubes dry using paper towels. Moisture can inhibit the searing process.
  3. Heat your pot over a medium-high flame, then add the olive oil.
  4. Place the beef cubes in the pot without overcrowding. Overcrowding can cause the meat to steam rather than sear.
  5. Let each side brown before turning, which typically takes 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Once browned, set aside. These browned bits, known as fond, will add rich flavor to the stew.

FAQs About Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew

  1. Can I substitute the beef stew meat? Yes, you can substitute beef with lamb or chicken. However, cooking times may vary.
  2. What can I use if I can't find chilmole paste? A combination of roasted ancho and guajillo chiles, ground cumin, allspice, and a hint of cloves can serve as a makeshift chilmole paste.
  3. How do I store leftovers? Allow the stew to cool to room temperature, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate. It tastes even better the next day!
  4. Are there any allergens in this dish? This recipe contains no common allergens like nuts or dairy. However, always check the chilmole paste ingredients to ensure there are no hidden allergens.
  5. Which other root vegetables can I use in this stew? Beets, rutabaga, and celeriac can be excellent additions or substitutes for the root vegetables listed.

Tips for Success with Your Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew

  1. Prep Ahead: Chop all your vegetables and measure out your seasonings ahead of time. This mise en place technique ensures a smooth cooking process.
  2. Low and Slow: Let the stew simmer gently to meld the flavors and tenderize the meat. A rapid boil can make the meat tough.
  3. Garnish Generously: The fresh cilantro and lime zest added right before serving provide a fresh contrast to the rich and smoky stew. Don't skip this step!

Recipe Overview

Spicy Blackened Chilmole Stew with Hearty Root Vegetables
Lily Anderson
6 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons blackening seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons chilmole paste (available at specialty stores or online)
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 parsnips, chopped
  • 1 turnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
  • Zest of one lime (for garnish)

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef stew meat and brown on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  3. Stir in the blackening seasoning and chilmole paste until the onion and garlic are well coated.
  4. Return the beef to the pot. Add the beef broth, carrots, parsnips, turnip, and sweet potato. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the bay leaf, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
  6. Before serving, remove the bay leaf. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and lime zest.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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