Pronunciation: [bih-RREE-ah]

This rustic Mexican meat stew can be made with beef, goat, lamb, mutton, pork or veal, or some combination of these meats. Originally from Jalisco it's now found in other parts of Mexico and in Mexican restaurants in the United States. Birria uses less expensive cuts of meat, which are smothered with a spicy chili sauce and left to marinate for hours before the meat is slowly cooked until fork tender. The cooking juices are blended with a seasoned tomato sauce and served with the meat. Among the variations that have evolved are birrias that are akin to pot roast and others that are like short ribs. Restaurants that specialize in birria dishes are called birrierías.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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