Serves 8 to 10
Main Course

Ingredients

Part 1: For the Birria
  • beef short ribs,8,pounds,,
  • Kosher salt,,,,mortons-kosher-salt
  • large banana leaf,1,,or agave leaf,
  • medium white onion,1/2,,,
  • garlic,6,cloves,,
  • bay leaves,3,,,daun-salam-indian-bay-leaf
  • whole black peppercorns,1,teaspoon,,malabar-peppercorns
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Birria al Res (Mexican Beef Stew)

Birria is a rich red stew that originated in western Mexico, in the state of Jalisco. Traditionally it was made with lamb or goat, but today, places called birrerias serve all kinds of variations on the stew, made with chicken, beef, or other meats. Some chiles and spices just work better with different types of meat (usually dark with dark, light with light), so for our beef stew we make an adobo using dark, earthy, aromatic chiles. Since there are a lot of moving parts to this recipe, you may want to do a few of the steps—such as marinating the beef and making the pickles—a day before. Also, be sure to make the adobo first, since you need it for both the birria and this dish’s accompanying salsa.

A good trick is to start searing the short ribs with their fatty sides down so they release their own fats for sautéing. And if you can get your hands on a banana leaf, or better yet an agave leaf, it’s worth it—the leaf is the source of much of the dish’s earthy flavor. — from Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen by Gonzalo González Guzmán and Stacy Adimando. Buy this book from Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Reprinted with permission from Nopalito by Gonzalo González Guzmán and Stacy Adimando, 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2013 Eva Kolenko.

Written By Gonzalo Guzmán and Stacy Adimando | Feb 27, 2019

Ingredients

Part 1: For the Birria
  • beef short ribs,8,pounds,,
  • Kosher salt,,,,mortons-kosher-salt
  • large banana leaf,1,,or agave leaf,
  • medium white onion,1/2,,,
  • garlic,6,cloves,,
  • bay leaves,3,,,daun-salam-indian-bay-leaf
  • whole black peppercorns,1,teaspoon,,malabar-peppercorns
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Step one

A half day to a full day before you plan to serve, season the short ribs heavily with salt; let sit 30 minutes.

Step two

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in a single layer, working in batches as needed to avoid crowding the pot; cook, turning occasionally, until some of the fat is rendered and the meat is golden brown on all sides, then remove to a platter. Once all the ribs are seared, marinate the meat in half of the birria adobo and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Step three

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lay the banana leaf across the bottom of a pot or Dutch oven, then place the meat and marinade on top. Cut the onion half into four pieces and arrange the pieces over the meat along with the garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Add enough water to cover the meat by 1 inch. Fold the ends of the banana leaf over the meat to cover. Seal the pan with aluminum foil or a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook until very tender, about 3 hours. Drain the meat, reserving the braising liquid. (If not serving immediately, you can refrigerate the liquid and meat until ready to serve, up to 2 days.)

Ingredients

Part 2: For the Salsa
  • canned diced tomatoes,8,cups,and their juices,
  • garlic,3,cloves,,
  • dried cascabel or nora chiles,18,,stemmed and seeded,spanish-nora-chiles
  • corn tortillas,16 to 20,,,
  • chopped fresh cilantro,,,,
  • escabeche rojo,,,or raw red onions,
  • hot sauce,,,optional,cholula-hot-sauce
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Ingredients

Part 2: For the Salsa
  • canned diced tomatoes,8,cups,and their juices,
  • garlic,3,cloves,,
  • dried cascabel or nora chiles,18,,stemmed and seeded,spanish-nora-chiles
  • corn tortillas,16 to 20,,,
  • chopped fresh cilantro,,,,
  • escabeche rojo,,,or raw red onions,
  • hot sauce,,,optional,cholula-hot-sauce
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Step four

To make the salsa, raise the oven heat to 350°F. Place the diced tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.

Step five

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet to medium heat and add the cascabel chiles; cook, turning occasionally, until the chiles turn bright red and charred in places, 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer the chiles, roasted tomatoes and garlic, and the remaining half of the birria adobo to a blender, working in batches if needed, and blend until very smooth.

Step six

In a large pot, combine the salsa with half of the braising liquid, or more as needed to achieve a rich but still runny consistency; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes. Cut the short ribs into large chunks (about 3 inches) and add the meat to the sauce; taste and adjust the salt as necessary.

Step seven

Serve the birria with warm tortillas, cilantro, pickled onions, and hot sauce, if desired.