Birria is a spicy stew, most often prepared with goat meat, but also very popular to prepare using beef. A dish that originated in Jalisco, Mexico and served for any special occasion, such as weddings, baptisms and holidays. But, I say that any day can be a special occasion.
Finding food ingredients that remind you of home is special enough for me! In this case, I speak of the hard to find beef cheek that I enjoyed so much growing up. These days it is much easier to find thanks to Rumba Meats and their good quality meat products. I have to refrain from purchasing too much for lack of space in my freezer, lol! So when I get that craving for barbacoa tacos or tortas(Mexican sandwiches), I keep one package in my freezer. For today’s recipe, I decided to add a basic chile sauce that is often used to prepare birria. So, with a little help from my slow cooker overnight, I had the most tender beef cheek to work with the next day. This would make a great recipe for game day parties. Perfect for sliders or nachos! Oh, and tacos of course! #tacoseveryday #mexicanfood
You can add some pinto or black beans into the broth if you like. Serve with warm tortillas or bolillo rolls for dipping into the broth!
Better Too Much, Than Not Enough!
From experience, it is best to purchase an extra 2 pound package of the beef cheek. Some may have more fat that is not edible and will render less meat in the end.
Birria Style Beef Cheek-Birria de Res
- large slow cooker
- 3 pounds beef cheek, excess fat trimmed away you can use chuck roast if you prefer
- 2 teaspoons chicken or beef bouillon powder or use salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 3 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 dried chile california or guajillo
- 6 dried chile morita
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup oil
- 2 cups water reserve 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 inch piece of Mexican cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 6-8 peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons chicken or beef bouillon powder
- The night before: Trim excess fat from beef cheek and place into slow cooker. Add the bouillon powder, pepper, garlic and 3 cups of water. Turn onto low while you prepare the chile sauce.
- Remove the stems and seeds from large dried chile pods. Leave small morita chile as is. They typically don't come with a stem. Add the chiles, garlic and oil to a small sauce pan and heat to medium/low. Once chiles begin to soften in the oil, add 1 cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- To the blender add the chiles, garlic, 1 cup fresh water and all the cooking liquid from chiles in pan. Add remaining ingredients listed for sauce. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Push ingredients down in blender jar with a spatula. Cover and blend on high for 30-40 more seconds, making sure there are no large pieces left. Using a wire mesh strainer, strain the sauce into a bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Carefully pour in the strained chile sauce and cook at a steady simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the sauce into the slow cooker with beef. Pour in 1-2 more cups of broth or water to the slow cooker. Cover 3/4 of the way and continue cooking on low for 7-8 hours.
- The fat layer that forms on top is ideal for preparing quesabirria tacos. Or you can skim the fat off with a spoon if desired. Ladle birria into bowls with plenty of consome. Serve with warm tortillas or bolillo rolls. Garnish with cilantro, onion, Chile serrano and lime. Yields up to 6 servings.