Birria Quesa Tacos
The perfect dish for your next Mexican feast or dinner party. It’s a traditional mexican dish that originates from the state of Jasilico.
Traditionally made with goat, the meat is slow cooked in a spicy stew, shredded and then placed onto a grill on top of tortillas that have been dipped into the consomme (stew sauce) so you get a crispy taco meets quesadilla that is saucy and packed with punch.
You’ve probably seen it trending on the likes of Tik Tok recently but I first found out about it by a lovely follower who requested I try to make it. After spending my summer break doing some trials, I’m excited to share my beef version that also includes a recipe for homemade corn tortillas from scratch.
I preface that after studying the traditional Mexican method of cooking birria, my version is a simpler, ‘set and forget’ on the stove version, perfect for the home cooks out there, however doesn’t compromise on flavour. If you’ve made my Lamb Ragu Pappardelle, if might feel familiar, as you essentially sear some cuts of meat, throw it into a pot with stock and aromatics and then slow cook until it pulls apart. But it’s the taco assembly which really sets it apart. Enjoy!
- 2kg of your choice of protein: beef, lamb or even goat(traditional)
- 1ky chuck beef
- 1kg of beef ribs (bones provide flavour)
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon of Chilli Oil
- 8 dried chillies of your choice
- 2 brown onions, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of your choice of spices
- Coriander seeds
- Ginger powder
- Mexican oregano
- Normal oregano
- Cinnamon powder or stick
- Bay leaves
- 2 litres of beef stock or water
- 3 limes
- 250g of Oaxaca cheese. Mozzarella is a good substitute if you can’t find this.
- 1 small bunch of coriander
- 1 white or red onion
- 15-20 tortillas or to make them yourself
- Masa harina
- Place 8 dried chillies into a bowl and pour over boiling water to fully submerge. Allow to stand for 10 minutes to rehydrate and soften.
- Next prepare the 2kg of meat by generously salting all surface areas of meat. This helps add flavour when we sear and brown it.
- Heat a large pan or dutch oven (the same one you will use to slow cook) with some oil until it is so hot it starts to smoke. Place in a few pieces of meat at a time and cook on each side until golden to dark brown. Make sure you only put a few pieces at a time so the meat browns versus steaming (which is what happens when you overcrowd a pan)
- Place the meat on a tray whilst you cook all pieces.
- You’ll notice brown bits on the bottom of your pan. Do not clean this as this is fond, delicious flavour from the meat which you’ll use in the next phase to add flavour to the birria.
- Heat your pan again with some more oil if dry and add in 2 brown onions roughly chopped. Cook on medium and sweat for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Whilst onions are sweating, roughly chop 6 cloves of garlic and add to the pot. Cook for another 3 minutes until soft and golden.
- Optional step. If you have oregano or mexican oregano, add in a teaspoon worth in and cook for a minute until fragrant.
- At this point you can also add in a tablespoon of my homemade chilli oil to add flavour to the base.
- Add in 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes until it turns from red to dark brown in colour.
- Add in 1 litre of stock or water and bring to the boil. Once boiling bring back to a simmer.
- Whilst you’re waiting for the stock to boil, prepare the chillies by ripping off the tops and remove the seeds by jiggling the chilies into the soaking liquid. They should come off a lot easier than doing this dry. Place all chillies into the pot to cook.
- Grab a sieve and strain the soaking liquid into the pot with the chillies and discard the seeds. Removing seeds ensures the sauce isn’t too spicy but if you love spice, keep some in.
- Now add back in all of your meat and make sure they are all submerged in the sauce.
- Throw in 2 tablespoons of a mixture of your herbs and spices into the pot and give it a mix.
- For hard spices like cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds and peppercorns, I like to place them into a spice strainer so they can easily infuse into the broth, but them can be removed all at once.
- Finally add in any bay leaves you have lying around.
- Cover with the lid and cook on low-medium on the stove or in a slow cooker for about 3 hours.
- After 3 hours your meat should be falling off the bone and tender, fish out onto a tray and fish out all the spices, and bay leaves.
- Grab an immersion blender and blend the sauce into a smooth sauce. If you don’t have an immersion blender, throw into a normal blender until smooth and then put back into the pot.
- Add the meat back in, throw away the bones and cook for another 20 minutes to infuse the sauce.
- Remove meat onto a tray and finely shred using two forks. Pour some of the sauce back into the meat to keep it moist and then pour the rest of the sauce into a bowl
- Now we’re ready to put together the birra tacos!
- Heat a large pan or barbeque until hot. Take your tortilla and dip it into the birra sauce until fully covered and then place onto the hot plate.
- Add a tablespoon worth of the pulled beef, sprinkle some finely chopped cheese and white onion and then after 2 minutes fold over and cook on the other side until the cheese has melted.
- Transfer to a tray and top with more fresh onion and coriander.
- Pour some of the birria consome into small bowls.
- Enjoy the tacos by dipping them into the birra consome before eating!