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Beef Birria - A Classic Mexican Crowd Pleaser

This dish can be eaten any number of ways. Wrapped in a soft tortilla or crispy taco and topped with guacamole or served in a bowl as a stew with some nacho chips for dipping or with rice or quinoa salad. This stew gets better with age and can be made up to 2 days ahead.

I’ve seen all sorts of versions using goat and beef ribs. I love to use ox cheek for the intense beefy flavour and no fiddly bones. I have suggested using a pressure cooker which makes everything so much quicker but have also given timings for a slow cook.

2 kg beef cheek

4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

3 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground allspice This can be replaced with cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

8 dry guajillo chilli or passila chilli

3 tbsp olive oil

2 large onions peeled and chopped

6 cloves of garlic peeled

4 cm piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced

4 large tomatoes roughly chopped

1 tbsp tomato puree

500 ml water

3 bay leaves

2 tbsp honey

70 ml white wine vinegar

700 ml chicken stock

30 g fresh coriander to serving

2 limes to serve, quartered

Cut each cheek into 3 large chunks and place in a bowl with the salt, black pepper, oregano, cumin, allspice (or cinamon) and cloves. Toss throughly making sure all the meat is coated with the spices.

Cover and leave to dry dry in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight.

Prepare the Pepper Sauce

To make the pepper sauce, (this can be made the day before and kept in the fridge until you are ready to cook the dish). Snip the top off the chillies, slice open and scrape or shake out the seeds and discard them.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the guajillo chillies and toss in the hot oil for 30 seconds.

Add half the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Give it all a good stir then add the tomatoes and water.

Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to the boil then reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little and blend to a smooth paste.

Cook the Birria

Beef birria - cooking the sauceIn a pressure cooker or large casserole dish, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and gently fry the remaining onions until soft.

Add the beef, chilli sauce, honey, vinegar, bay leaves, remaining garlic and ginger and finally the chicken stock, give it all a good stir. Bring to a boil over a high heat, then turn to heat to low and simmer gently for 3 hours, stirring occasionally until the meat is falling apart.

Serve with coriander and quartered limes

Alternative pressure cooking instructions

After everything is added to the pressure cooker, turn the heat to high, secure the lid and bring up to full pressure. Once you are at full pressure, reduce the heat and cook for 55 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, turn remove from the heat source and allow the pressure to release naturally. When pressure is released, remove the lid and serve with coriander and quartered limes

Beef birria - a classic Mexican crowd pleaser

Beef Birria

Jules
This spicy Mexican stew can be eaten any number of ways. Wrapped in a soft tortilla or crispy taco and topped with guacamole or served in a bowl as a stew with some nacho chips for dipping or with rice or quinoa salad. This stew gets better with age and can be made up to 2 days ahead.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Marinating 6 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine South American
Servings 8 People
Calories 476 kcal

Equipment

Pressure cooker
Stick blender

Ingredients
  

  • 2 kg beef cheek
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice This can be replaced with cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 8 dry guajillo chilli or passila chilli
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 4 cm piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500 ml water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 70 ml white wine vinegar
  • 700 ml chicken stock
  • 30 g fresh coriander to serving
  • 2 limes to serve, quartered

Instructions
 

  • Cut each cheek into 3 large chunks and place in a bowl with the salt, black pepper, oregano, cumin, allspice (or cinamon) and cloves. Toss throughly making sure all the meat is coated with the spices.
  • Cover and leave to dry drine in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight.

Pepper Sauce

  • To make the pepper sauce, (this can be made the day before and kept in the fridge until you are ready to cook the dish). Snip the top off the chillies, slice open and scrape or shake out the seeds and discard them.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the guajillo chillies and toss in the hot oil for 30 seconds.
  • Add half the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Give it all a good stir then add the tomatoes and water.
  • Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to the boil then reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little and blend to a smooth paste.

Cook the Birria

  • In a pressure cooker or large casserole dish, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and gently fry the remaining onions until soft.
  • Add the beef, chilli sauce, honey, vinegar, bay leaves, remaining garlic and ginger and finally the chicken stock, give it all a good stir. Bring to a boil over a high heat, then turn to heat to low and simmer gently for 3 hours, stirring occasionally until the meat is falling apart.
  • Serve with coriander and quartered limes

Alternative pressure cooking instructions

  • After everything is added to the pressure cooker, turn the heat to high, secure the lid and bring up to full pressure. Once you are at full pressure, reduce the heat and cook for 55 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, turn remove from the heat source and allow the pressure to release naturally. When pressure is released, remove the lid and serve with coriander and quartered limes

Nutrition

Calories: 476kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 39gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 1427mgPotassium: 1187mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 3324IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 7mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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