1 tspdried mexican oregano- this is not the same thing as mediterranean oregano. If you can't get it leave it out.
1tbspkosher salt- you will adjust seasoning at the end
birria de res con consomme
4lbsbeef chuckShort ribs are good too. Oxtail is amazing if you are down with that. You want a fatty cut suitable for braising cut about the size of a baseball. Chunks.
3tbspvegetable oil- enough to coat the bottom of the pot well. You may need more as you go.
4cupsbeef stock- rich homemade beef stock here. Or stock from your butcher. Not bouillon cubes.
Stem and seed your chilies
I like a pair of scissors for seeding chilies. Rip of the stem. Use the scissors to cut the chilies lengthwise. Open up the chili halves and shake out the seeds.
Brown your beef
Preheat a large, oven-proof dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil.
When it starts to shimmer add the beef. Work in batches. Leave room around each chunk. You don't want your beef to steam. You want it to brown.
Brown one side. Then brown the other side. Then the 4 edges as best you can. I find leaning pieces up against each other helps with this. You are after golden brown.
Repeat until all the beef is brown. Set the beef aside.
Make the chili puree
Remove all but about 2 tbsp of oil from the dutch oven you browned the beef in. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions soften.
Add the peppercorns, cloves, bay and the chilies. Gently fry the chilies for a minute or two. Take care not to burn them or your birria will turn out bitter.
Toss in the cumin and fry for another 30 seconds or so, stirring constantly.
Add the water, cider vinegar, and tomatoes. Stir to combine.
Mix in the thyme, salt and Mexican oregano if using.
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Puree the chili mixture. Work in batches of about half of what your blender will hold. Remember you are pureeing hot liquid. You need to remove the little cap in the middle of the lid to let steam escape. Cover that hole with a bar rag you don't care about too much. This stuff stains. Empty the blender into a large bowl as you go.
This step is critical and it's a drag. There are little bits of chili skin in the puree. You need to get rid of them. Push the pureed chili mixture through a coarse sieve or try a food mill with the finest attachment. It will take a while with a strainer. Push it through using a soft spatula back into your dutch oven. Put something on TV. You will be at this for a while.
At the end you should wind up with about 2/3 cup of gunk in your strainer and some wonderful chili puree in the dutch oven.
Make your birria de res
Pre-heat your oven to 325F.
Add that good quality beef stock to the chili puree.
Return the beef to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat.
Cover the dutch oven with a layer of aluminium foil and then the lid. Place in the middle of your pre-heated oven and cook until the beef is tender. This can take 3-4 hours depending on the size of the beef chunks. Enjoy the downtime.
Once the beef is tender let it cool enough to break it up or shred it (depending on how you want to serve) and return the beef to the consomé (the sauce). Heat through and serve it as a stew garnished with diced white onion and a bit of cilantro if you like. Or make tacos. Crazy, tasty tacos.
If you want to make great double dipped Birria tacos see the instructions in the text right before the actual recipe. This recipe makes 12-16 generous tacos worth of Birria. Two tacos would be a solid meal for all but the biggest appetites.