Birria tacos have been one of the hugest food crazes in 2020! If you’ve never heard of birria, it’s a Mexican goat stew with chilies. Since beef is more affordable, most places will actually use beef which is what I decided to use as well. I’m actually not the hugest goat person around so I’m glad they have beef varieties. The beef is stewed with various chilies and then the stew is turned into a consomé . The beef is then shredded once it becomes tender and it’s used for tacos! However in this instance the taco preparation is actually much different than any taco I’ve ever had in the past. The tortillas are dipped into some of the stew (usually the fat and oily layer) and then topped with the beef to pan fry until crispy! Some places will even go the further step of filling it with cheese, creating the quesabirria taco! The taco is then served with the consommé created from the process. My favorite part is dipping the taco into the consomé! It’s just so delicious and something you have to experience for yourself!
In NYC there used to be only one well known truck that sold birria, now they expanded to 2 trucks and some other places also offer birria. The taco truck is so good that during the peak of quarantine, they would still have over a 1 hour wait! One of my friends Sam (@Sameatsnyc) actually decided to make her own at home and I got inspired from her to give it a try. I hit Sam up to ask her what recipe she used, because I didn’t want to jump into making birria blindly or follow a random recipe thay may or may not work out. She told me she used Cooking Con Claudia’s recipe on YouTube, so I decided to check out her latest birria recipe video!
While watching the recipe video, there were some instances where there wasn’t exact measurements. I decided to try and replicate the measurements for those as much as possible. There was a scene where she basically tosses 3-4 hand full of salt!!! I literally was confused and surprised at the same time 😂😂😂. I really didn’t know how much salt it was and I think I ended up putting way less than she did. Thankfully I taste during each step and adjusted the salt to taste. She also used her fingers to measure, I pretended to use my fingers to measure but I just guesstimated for those ingredients.
I want to fully disclose that while I did use and follow Claudia's recipe on YouTube, I also made quite a few adjustments to the recipe to suit my taste and preferences. In her recipe she included arbol chilies, but I decided not to include it as I didn’t have any. I’m sure that if you do decide to use some, it will make your birria a lot spicier than mine was. I also decided to not use as many chilies as she did, which I will list below. I decided to add some beef stock to incorporate more beef flavor as I wasn’t using any beef cuts with bones. While the recipe calls for oregano, I sorta ended up using Italian seasonings LOL. I’m sure some people out there are cringing so hard! Idk how much of a difference it made, but I didn’t have any oregano on hand and Italian seasonings was the closest thing I had. I will definitely make it next time with mexican oregano though! I never said this was going to be a fully authentic recipe 😅. I also added some chicken bouillon powder, because half way I felt that it was a little bland (because I didn’t add enough salt at first). Feel free to follow her recipe if you wish, as it should come out amazing.
Quesa Birria Tacos with Beef Consomé
Beef Stew / Consomé
- 2.5 lb beef shank
- 4 lb beef eye round/ Beef Chuck Pot Roast
- 10-15 peeled garlic cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoon kosher salt + more if needed
- 1 medium sized onion
- Optional: 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder
- 6 Dried Ancho Chilies
- 4 Dried Pasilla Chilies
- 10 Dried Guajillo chilies
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 inch peeled Ginger
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried cumin
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorn
- ½ cinnamon stick
- ⅓ cup white vinegar
- 10 peeled garlic cloves
- 4 cups beef stock
- Tomato Puree
- 4 Roma/Plum tomatoes
- Quesa Birria tacos
- 1-2 packs of Corn Tortillas
- 1 diced onion
- 1 bunch chopped cilantro
- Shredded Mozzarella cheese or oaxaca cheese
- Radish optional
- pickled red onions optional
- salsa optional
Birria & Consomé
- Wash and cut/divide the beef into smaller pieces and place it into a large pot. (Optional: Pre-soak in cold water to remove excess blood from meat)
- Add in 10 garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves, 1 whole peeled onion, and 3 tablespoon salt. Then pour in enough water to cover everything by an inch. *Optional: You may also add in the chicken bouillon powder during this step if you chose to include it.
- Cook on high heat until it boils, then reduce to medium heat and continue cooking on a simmer. Continue to cook for about 1.5-2 hours or until the meat is tender and falls apart. Check on it frequently and skim the scum off the top as it forms. After the 1 hour 30 min mark of cooking, remove the bay leaves & onion.
- Deseed & destem all the chili peppers, then wash them a few times. Cover it with water in a pot and cook on the stove for about 6-10 minutes on high heat or until soft. *If you are sensitive to chilies you should wear gloves during this process. You can break the chillies in half to make it easier to deseed and destem them.
- Once the peppers are soft, drain all the water and set it aside to cool for a bit .
- In a strong blender, blend the cooked chilies, 10 garlic cloves, 4 bay leaves, cinnamon stick, peeled ginger, thyme, oregano, cumin, toasted sesame seeds, cloves, black peppercorns, vinegar, and 16 oz (2 cups) beef stock. Blend until you get a smooth mixture. The more smooth it is the less you have to strain and sift after. *You may need to stir the contents around to ensure everything gets nice and blended.
- After the bay leaves and onion is removed from the pot, strain the chili sauce mixture into the pot in small batches. Add 2 more cups of beef stock into the blender to get the remaining chili sauce, and strain it into the pot. Mix the mixture into the pot and continue to cook until the meat is soft and tender.
- Rinse the tomatoes and score the skin slightly at the side opposite from the stem with an X shape and put them in a small pot with water to cook. Make sure the water is covering the tomatoes. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the skin starts to separate from the tomato and the tomato feels soft.
- Blend the cooked tomatoes to make a tomato purée sauce. Once puréed, strain the tomato sauce into the pot and mix. Continue to simmer until the meat is soft and tender.
- Once the meat is soft and tender, take it out of the pot and chill it slightly so you can shred or cut it up into smaller pieces. Then add it back into the soup. *I personally think that shredding the beef by hand creates a better texture.
- Simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat then taste and add salt to taste if needed. You may serve immediately! *I recommend making this the night before and eating it the next day for better flavors
- Optional: If your consomé is too thick the day after, or not as thin as you would like, add 1 cup of water at a time to thin it out until desired consistency and add salt to taste if needed.
Quesa Birria Tacos
- Chop up the cilantro and dice up the onion and combine them in a bowl. Slice lime wedges if you wish to serve it with your tacos.
- Dip the tortillas into the consome on both sides. Place the dipped tortillas onto a nonstick pancake griddle, or into a large flat non stick frying pan on medium to low heat. *I find that a pancake griddle works the best as you can cook several at a time.
- Top off the tortillas with some of the shredded beef and shredded cheese if you want to add cheese. *You can put the cheese under the beef if you want, so that it melts better
- Turn the heat on the griddle or the stove on med-high to fry up the tortillas. If the tortillas are heating up too fast and the cheese is not melting, turn the heat down a bit so it doesn’t burn before the cheese melts.
- Once the cheese begins to melt, fold the tortillas in half like a quesadilla and ensure that both sides of the tortilla are nice and crispy.
- Once they are crispy, top with cilantro onion mixture if desired.
- Serve with lime wedges and the beef consomé and enjoy!