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Birria Quesatacos are crispy, cheesy, and bursting with flavor. Warm and comforting, top them with red onion pickled in lime juice and chopped cilantro for a bite of freshness.
Birria de Res is a Mexican stew made of meat braised in an adobo, flavored with dried chiles and herbs and it has been on my list of things to make for well over a year now.
I mentioned before when I shared my Carne Guisada recipe that I love me a good beef stew, and I take them very seriously. This recipe took me half a dozen tries, but I’m finally satisfied with it.
I did a lot of reading and researching, before finally realizing that just like most meals – everybody’s Abuelita makes it differently. Then, I decided to just do what felt right, since I never knew my own abuela (we’ll just pretend this is her recipe).
Quesatacos are a super popular street taco consisting of corn tortillas and lots of melty Oaxaca cheese. They’re one of my favorite things to watch restaurants make on IGTV, and judging by just how many videos you can find, I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Arguably the most important part of Birria de Res is the consomé: the stock. The rich, silky mouthfeel consomé has comes from the collagen that’s released by bones when cooked slowly. It isn’t consomé without it!
If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between broths and stocks, collagen is the answer. Stocks are usually richer than broths, and that’s because bones are a key ingredient for stocks, but not so much for broths.
Test it out: put a cup of each in the fridge. Come back in a couple of hours and you’ll see that the broth stays fluid, but stock turns into something that looks like Jell-O. Heat the stock up again, and it’s back to liquid.
My freezer is stocked with mostly boneless meat, so I chose to use a boneless chuck roast. This is why my recipe calls for agar agar powder, a plant-based gelatin substitute. You can swap it out for regular gelatin – one packet of it should be enough – or you can elect to use a roast that’s still on the bone.
You can also add soup bones or oxtails to the pot, removing them (any meat stays in the pot!) during step 10 of the recipe.
Whatever you use, you don’t want the bone in the final dish.
Thing to Note:
- Toast your chile pods before adding them to the pot to really bring out their flavors and aromas. To do this place a large skillet over high heat and add the chiles. Toss them around until the skin starts to become pliable and they are pungent, just a few minutes. You can do the onion and garlic, too.
- You might need more water – up to 12 cups – especially if you opt to use a bone-in roast or add soup bones instead of gelatin or agar agar powder. Start with 10 cups at the beginning, and add more as you go. Your consume shouldn’t be thin, but not super thick like gravy either.
- I like to add an additional step to the recipe: after I strain the consomé and shred the meat, I combine them both again and let them cool together, then separate the meat and liquid again later to use for the tacos or whatever. In my head, this helps the meat really absorb the flavors. It’s likely unnecessary.
- These tacos can be crispy or soft, depending on how long you fry them. I like crispy, so I do about 3-4 minutes on each side.
- I combine chopped red onion, fresh cilantro, and lime juice to top ours. The bite of it really cuts through how heavy this dish can feel. Talk about the ‘itis!
- Birria is usually eaten like a regular ol’ stew, in a bowl with a spoon, not just in Birria Quesatacos. If you go this route, don’t bother shredding the meat. Just break it apart roughly with a spoon as you’re serving.
- You’ll likely have tons of Birria leftover. I store the meat and broth separately and add it to everything from quesadillas to breakfast hash. My kid made a Birria grilled stuffed burrito filled with rice, refried beans, pico de Gallo, and crema.
If you make these Birria Quesatacos I hope you’ll come back and let me know what you thought! Leave a comment and a rating! Here’s a graphic for your Pinterest Board:Print
Birria Quesatacos Con Consomé
- Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
You’ve seen it on the Internet: get ready to make ’em at home.
Birria de Res:
- 5 lb chuck roast
- 10 dried chile pods, seeded and de-stemmed (I used guajillo, ancho, and arbol)
- 10 C water
- 2 tbsp chicken bouillon
- 1 cinnamon stick (canela)
- 5 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 6 large cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp agar agar powder
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 12 6″ fresh corn tortillas, plus more as needed
- 1 lb Oaxaca cheese, shredded
- oil, for frying
Birria de Res y Consomé
- Place a large stockpot or dutch oven over high heat. Drizzle in your olive oil and add the roast. Sprinkle some salt on top, let it sear for 2 minutes, then flip. Salt the other side.
- Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add your chile pods, onion and garlic, then pour in the water.
- Stir in the chicken bouillon, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cumin seeds, peppercorns and the salt.
- Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Your burner will be somewhere around medium or medium-low. Cover and let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the chili pods from the liquid, along with about a cup of the liquid.
- Add the pods and liquid to a blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Place a sieve over the pot and pour in the blended chiles. Use a spatula or spoon to push the blended chiles through the sieve, into the pot. If your blender is super strong you can skip this step but if you’re unsure don’t – you don’t want bits of chile skin in your birria.
- Stir in the marjoram, oregano and tomato. Taste and add salt if needed. Cover and continue to cook until the meat is tender and starting to come apart at the marbling.
- Stir in your vinegar and agar powder. Let cook for another 45 minutes or so, until the meat breaks off easily with a fork.
- Remove the roast from the pot. You can place it in a high sided bowl and go at it with a hand mixer, or wooden spoon to shred it. You can also transfer it to a cutting board and chop it up with a knife or shred it with two forks.
- Now, pour the liquid in the pot through a sieve to remove the bay leaves, peppercorns, and any other aromatics. Once strained add the liquid back to the pot: you have consomé!
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Drizzle in just a bit of oil.
- Dip a tortilla into the consomé, submerging it completely. Place the tortilla on the skillet. Repeat and fit as many tortillas as you comfortably can.
- Sprinkle on your desired amount of cheese, directly onto the tortilla. Let cook for a couple of minutes, until the cheese has begun to melt.
- Add 1/3 of a cup or so of the birria to the taco. Use a spatula to fold one half of the tortilla over into a taco shape.
- Spoon a bit of consomé over the tacos, then flip them to fry on the other side. Cook until crisp, then remove.
- Repeat until you’ve made enough tacos to serve everyone (keep them warm in a 200ºF oven if needed). Dassit!
- ICYMI: I put the recipe notes above my recipes, so don’t skip the post. There is very little filler or fluff here on DFH.
- Adapted from Food & Wine.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
IncaJuly 1, 2020 at 2:22 pm
I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m getting the ingredients THIS WEEKEND and I’m doing it. This beef looks perfect and I love the way you make tacos. <3
KerraJuly 15, 2020 at 9:15 pm
I tried your recipe and it turned out great. My family enjoyed the tacos. Thank you for sharing this recipe it was awesome. I plan on using the
Consomé for when I make ramen I think it’s going to taste great.
MaríaSeptember 2, 2020 at 10:00 am
oh wow that sounds so good, thank you for the idea! Gotta try that too.
A. GivensJuly 26, 2020 at 9:20 pm
THIS WAS DELICIOUS!!!! I opted for beef soup bones instead of the gelatin powder (easier to find in the grocery store). Everyone in my household loved it! There was nothing but moans of delight at the dinner table. Will definitely do this again!
MaríaAugust 25, 2020 at 12:55 pm
?? that is the best! Thank you for letting me know!
TAugust 11, 2020 at 2:32 pm
when do you put the agar in?
MaríaAugust 25, 2020 at 12:56 pm
I’m not looking at the recipe right now but it should be around step 8 or 9. Same time as the vinegar.
ShaneAugust 17, 2020 at 4:05 pm
I made these yesterday and they turned out great.. only change I made was I used a 3.5 pound boneless roast and then about 2 pounds of beef short ribs to get the fat and marrow for consume. Also in the ingredients it list tomato paste but I couldn’t find where to add it in the directions soo I added it when I made the chilies into a purée.
MaríaAugust 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm
It doesn’t matter too much when it’s added, I’m glad it worked out! Thanks for the call out, I just updated the recipe!
AngelaAugust 17, 2020 at 9:06 pm
15 lbs of roast? Or did you mean 1.5
MaríaAugust 25, 2020 at 1:00 pm
That should have been a period, not a space – it’s 1.5. This recipe would work for up to 5-6 pounds I’d say (with some extra salt) but definitely not 15! ?
aliicaAugust 18, 2020 at 5:13 pm
i see you have tomato paste labeled in the recipe but not in the imstuctions.
MaríaAugust 25, 2020 at 1:23 pm
Updated it, thanks!
WillAugust 26, 2020 at 3:02 pm
Excited to try this! Could I use beef stock instead of chicken? Thanks
MaríaAugust 30, 2020 at 10:38 am
KonstantinJanuary 30, 2021 at 10:40 am
I just tried this. But being from Europe I had no chance whatsoever to get Cumin seeds so I used the ground ones. Additionally I swapped some of the water with beer and used fresh Majoran and Oregano. I also did it old school using bones instead of agar agar. Simply love this, thanks for sharing!
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