Birria de Res


Birria is one of the most traditional dishes in Mexico. Originally made with goat’s meat, the real secret about Birria is to let it cook slowly for a long time in a rich sauce made with dried chillies. Birria was created in Jalisco, Mexico but there are different versions of it depending where you eat it. There are also many ways to serve it. Some people would have it on a bowl as a stew and some others will prefer to have the meat in tacos and the soup on the side as a magical broth capable of bringing you back to life.  We’ll share with you our take on this amazing stew. Here’s what you need for 4-6 portions.

Ingredients for the Sauce/Marinade:

-3 Pasilla Chillies

-2 Guajillo Chillies

-2 Cascabel Chillies

-2 Tomatoes

-1/2 Onion (or 1/3 if too large)

-4 Large Garlic Cloves

-1 Tsp. Ground Cumin

-1 Tsp. Mexican Oregano

-1 Tsp. Ancho Powder

-2 Bay Leaves

-1 Tsp. Ground Pepper

-1 Tbsp. Sea Salt

-1 Cup of Water Divided

-1/4 Cup Apple Vinegar

Ingredients for the stew:

-1Kg Chuck Roast

-3Lt Water

-1 Beef Stock Cube



-White Onion Diced



-Lime wedges


For The Marinade/Sauce:

Remove the stem from the dried chillies and open on one side to remove most of the seeds. Add some oil to a hot skillet and slightly fry the dried chillies on all sides. The chillies need to toast but not burn. They will toast very quickly so keep an eye on them, if they burn they turn bitter. As soon as they start toasting (you will be able to smell their delicious aroma) add the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Stir constantly. If you see the chillies turning black, remove them from the pan, otherwise, keep stirring. Once the tomatoes start to soften, add all the spices: cumin, oregano, ancho powder, bay leaves, pepper and stir. Add 1/2 cup of water and let it cook for a minute or so. Add the vinegar, stir and remove from heat, let it cool down for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the temperature has dropped, add the chillies and the liquid they cooked in plus another 1/2 cup of water, salt and  blitz in a blender until obtaining a smooth paste. Set aside.

For The Meat:

Cut the beef in big and similar sized chunks and place them in a container. Cover really well with the marinade/sauce. Place a lid onthe container or cover with cling film and store it in the fridge overnight. You could skip marinating the meat overnight but we highly recommend it. Once the meat is ready, place in a big cooking pot and cover it with 3 Lt. of water. Cook on high heat until it starts to boil. Lower the heat to low-medium and let it slow cook for at least 2 hours. Check the seasoning and add at this point the beef stock cube. The longer you leave the meat cooking, the softer it becomes and blends better with all the flavours. We recommend shredding the beef once is cooked and return it to the pot until you are ready to serve.

To Serve:

While in some parts birria is served with only diced white onion, crushed oregano and chile de arbol salsa, other places add coriander and lime juice. We like it with all of it! Sprinkle with onion, fresh coriander, lime juice, salsa and sliced radishes. You can enjoy it in a bowl or make tacos with it. The flavour is so rich and heavenly, you will enjoy it whatever way you want to try it. We served Frijoles de la Olla or Beans from the pot on the side to make beans and birria tacos. We can’t recommend this enough! You can make your own beans following our recipe here. They are perfect every time.

Making Birria is not difficult but it does take a little preparation and waiting time. However, it is so rewarding! As a side note, we would like to add that even when so many chillies are used to make this dish, there’s no heat at all, only delicious flavour. This is because the chillies used are mild and flavourful and we have also removed the seeds before making the sauce.