This is one of the most well-known dishes from Jalisco, where it is usually made with mutton, goat, beef, chicken or fish.
The traditional technique for cooking birria is similar to the barbacoa, cooking the meat with agave leaves called pencas. There are many different ways to cook birria and some other ways to serve it, but this is an easy method for beginners.
This recipe is extracted from Cocina Mexicana by Adriana Cavita, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£22) Photography by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small
Ingredients for Northern-Style Beef Stew Birria
- 10 guajillo chillies, seeds and veins removed and lightly toasted
- 4 cascabel or pasilla chillies, seeds and veins removed and lightly toasted
- 4 anchos chillies, seeds and veins removed and lightly toasted
- 7 garlic cloves
- ½ white onion, cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- ½ tablespoon black peppercorns
- 4 cloves
- 1 tablespoon Mexican dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 kg tomatoes, asados, seeds and skins removed (optional)
How to make Northern-Style Beef Stew Birria
- First, prepare the sauce. Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor or blender with 500 ml water and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh for an even smoother sauce. In Mexico, we add water to the pulp left in the sieve and then strain again to extract maximum flavour.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°/Gas 6.
- Season the meat with salt and place in a deep roasting pan. Roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until the meat starts to take on some colour. Pour the sauce over the meat, making sure that everything is covered — if there is not enough sauce to cover the meat, add a bit more water. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. Cover the roasting pan with kitchen foil and cook for 4–5 hours until the meat easily falls off the bone.
- Serve the birria with tortillas and your favourite salsas and sauces.