Traditional Birria Stew

December 27, 2021  •  Meat & Poultry

Birria is a traditional stew from the Jalisco region of Mexico, and it’s the perfect thing to make with tougher cuts of meat like a bone in shoulder or chuck roast. The adobo sauce takes a bit of work as you are layering flavors together, but using a blender and an Instant Pot make short work of what could otherwise be a lengthy project for dinner.

Be sure to save all of the broth from the Birria as it makes a great base for ramen (as The NY Times Cooking site highlighted) and the leftover meat can be used in tacos and more.

Traditional Birria Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
  • 5 pounds bone-in beef or veal shoulder, rump roast, or chuck roast, cut into large pieces
  • Sea salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 5 dried large red chiles (like Guajillo), soaked in 2 cups hot water
  • 2 pasilla chiles, roasted, skin and seeds removed
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 pinches ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • Cilantro, limes, and avocado for serving
  1. Season the meat liberally with sea salt all over. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the oil; working in batches, sear the meat until browned on all sides. As the pieces are browned, remove from the skillet and place them in the Instant Pot.
  2. When all of the meat has been browned, add the onions to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Remove the seeds and stems from the dried chiles that you have rehydrated and discard, reserving the liquid. Place the chiles in a blender along with the onions and garlic, roasted pasilla chiles, tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, sesame, cumin, cloves, and pepper. Add the liquid from rehydrating the chiles and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture over the meat in the Instant Pot. Add the bay leaves the cinnamon stick and set to pressure cook on high for 90 minutes. Let pressure release naturally and then remove the meat from the braising liquid. Discard any bones or gristle and shred the meat into large chunks, then return to the sauce.
  5. Serve with corn tortillas or over white rice and garnish with cilantro, a squeeze from a lime wedge and sliced avocado.


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