Mexican Stew: Birria

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  • Total: 2 hr
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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4 guajillo chiles

4 ancho chiles

1 cup hot water

1 pound top round, cubed for stew

1 pound baby back ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 1/2 quarts water

1 onion

6 garlic cloves

2 fresh bay leaves

6 sprigs thyme

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon Mexican oregano

Salt and pepper


1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon ground chile piquin


1/2 cup diced onion

2 limes, cut into wedges

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Corn tortillas, as an accompaniment


  1. On hot griddle toast the ancho and gaujillo chile and submerge in hot water. Let chiles sit for 20 minutes. Remove from water and puree in blender with a cup of warm water. Set aside.
  2. In a deep Dutch oven, add the beef and ribs, water, onion, and garlic cloves. Bring to boil and cook for 1 hour. At this point add the bay leaves, thyme, chile puree, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper simmer for 30 minutes. To make sauce, puree the garlic, vinegar, and chile powder in a blender.
  3. Serve the stew in a big bowl with a sprinkle of onion and cilantro and a squeeze of lime on top. Serve with corn tortillas and some of the sauce on the side, as well.