If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, you’re probably familiar with the classic dish from the state of Jalisco—Birria. This mouthwatering dish is traditionally made with goat meat, although lamb or a combination of meats can also be used. Today, we’re going to focus on Birria de Res, a homemade version that uses readily available beef.
A Versatile Combination of Meats
In birrierias, the restaurants known for serving Birria, it’s common to find a combination of meats. However, Birria de Res is more accessible to home cooks, and it’s equally delicious. I personally love using a combination of RUMBA MEATS’ beef tail and shank. The bone-in beef enhances the flavor of the Birria broth, but you can also use beef cheek and tail or create your own combination. Just make sure to include a cut of meat with some bones for that rich, savory taste. Some adventurous cooks even use a mix of lamb, beef, and pork!
A Symphony of Flavors
There are various recipes for Birria, but they all rely on a combination of dried chilies and herbs. Some people even substitute vinegar with beer or pulque and add a touch of ginger for extra complexity. Birria is traditionally served in a bowl, similar to a soup, garnished with chopped onion and cilantro or oregano. You can also enjoy the tender beef in tacos if you prefer. In any case, I’m certain you’ll savor every bite of this delightful dish.
How to Make Birria de Res
- 1 kilogram of beef tail/shank
- Beef cheek or beef chuck
- Salt and pepper
- Ancho chilies
- Guajillo chilies
- Roasted large tomatoes
- Whole garlic cloves
- Cumin seeds
- Black peppercorns
- Mexican oregano
- A pinch of marjoram
- Medium white onion
- Mexican cinnamon stick
- White vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Chopped cilantro or dried oregano
- Diced white onion
- Lime wedges
- You can use other cuts of beef, such as beef chuck or shank.
- You can add ¼ inch of ginger root.
- You can also prepare this dish in a slow cooker if you prefer. Cook on medium heat for 8 hours.
- You can even use a pressure cooker (adjust the cooking time accordingly).
- If you want the consommé, add 6 cups of water separately. If you’re only making it for tacos, it’s not necessary as the meat and sauce will be enough.
- Season the beef with salt and pepper and place it on a large baking dish.
- Remove the seeds from the chilies, lightly toast them over medium heat, being careful not to burn them (burned chilies can make the sauce taste bitter). Soak the chilies in a cup of hot water for 20 minutes. Roast the onion and garlic and place them in a blender.
- Briefly toast the cloves, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns (this step only takes a few seconds). Add them to the blender along with the roasted tomatoes, herbs, onion, cinnamon, and vinegar.
- Once the chilies are soft, drain them and add them to the blender. Blend until you have a smooth sauce. Add a few tablespoons of water if your blender is struggling to process the mixture. Season the sauce with salt.
- Pour the sauce over the beef, making sure it’s completely covered. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. [Refer to the notes if you want the consommé.]
- Preheat the oven to 350 ºF (180C). Bake the beef for about 4 hours or until tender.
- Serve the hot beef with its broth in bowls, garnished with chopped onion and cilantro. You can enjoy it with warm tortillas and a side of spicy salsa.
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