Sunday, August 7, 2016

Traditional Mexican Stew - Birria

May 15, 2016

Living in San Diego I am surrounded by delicious Mexican Food so Mexican Food cookbook is not something I am normally attracted to. So far I had only been tempted by Rick Bayless "More Everyday Mexican" and "Fiesta at Rick's." However, while browsing the cookbook table in Costco "Claudia's Cocina, a taste of Mexico" by Claudia Sandoval, winner of MasterChef Season 8 called out to me. Discovering that she was a local from National City/ La Mesa sealed the deal. 

I am so very glad I bought the book. I choose for my first recipe to try, Traditional Mexican Stew- Birria from the book. It allowed me to work with various types of beautiful chiles I see at local Mexican grocery stores, that I have always wondered about. Relatively easy to make despite the longer ingredient list. The results?? Two Big Thumbs UP from family. I have made it twice already and thinking it might be time to make it again!

Recipe adapted from "Claudia's Cocina, a taste of Mexico" by Claudia Sandoval.

6 dried California chiles, stemmed and seeded

2 dried Pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried Gaujillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 yellow onions, chopped and divided
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 pounds (1.4kg) beef chuck roast or goat's or sheep's leg meat, cut into 6 to 8 equal pieces
10 black peppercorns

Soak dried California, Pasilla and Gaujilo chiles in a medium saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to boil over high heat. Turn off heat, cover and allow chilies to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, until soften. Using tongs, remove the chilies from the saucepan and place them in a blender with 2 cups of boiling liquid, half the chopped onions, the garlic, oregano, and cumin. Blend until smooth but not too thick, adding more reserve water as needed.

I used the meat from a leg of lamb, cut into large chunks. The original recipe called for cooking the meat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Both times that I cooked the Birria, I used my 3 in 1 Ninja Cooker; it can be used to brown, slow cook, steam or roast. I find it convenient to use the Ninja cooker as I can set it on a timer and also reheat the dish.

I place the meat in the Ninja pot, covered with water to barely cover the meat. Add peppercorns, bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Add chili paste and stir to mix in. Cover and bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to very low to maintain a bare simmer and cook for about approximately 2 hour, until the meat is fork-tender and falling apart. Every 30 minutes, gently stir to mix meat and sauce, and check the sauce level. The meat should be completely covered with braising liquid. Adding hot water as needed to maintain level, keeping it on a low simmer.

Remove one of the pieces of meat. Using tongs and a fork, break up the meat in the center of a shallow bowl and fill it with broth to cover meat. Sprinkle on some cilantro and remaining onion. Repeat with remaining pieces of meat and broth.
Claudia Sandavol suggest garnishing with a dried chile de arbol (crumble the chile to add more heat) and serve.
I served the Birria with Spanish rice or as filling in tacos. Either way, it was delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment