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Read all the way through before starting. 🙂
Season meat with salt and pepper and set aside.
Break dry chilies apart, remove stems and most seeds, and toast them in a dry large skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and slightly darkened (do not burn- or they get bitter!). Place toasted chiles in a small pot with the chicken broth, bring to a simmer, cover, and let stand 20 minutes covered, turning the heat off, until softened.
In the same warm skillet, toast any whole spices you are using-cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin, coriander, peppercorns– until it smells amazing- 1-2 minutes, turn the heat off, set aside.
Heat oil in Instant pot on SAUTE setting, (or large Dutch oven over medium heat) and add onion and garlic, stirring and sauteing until fragrant, tender and golden. Add tomatoes and their juices,, simmer 2-3 minutes until tomatoes are breaking down, then add vinegar, oregano, the toasted cinnamon stick, (or ground cinnamon) bay leaves and allspice. Stir and scrape up any browned bits (important, to prevent burn error) using a wood spoon. Turn heat off.
Place the softened chilies and broth to the blender along with the toasted spices plus roughly one cup of the tomato mixture from the Instant Pot (leave the rest of the tomatoes in the instant pot). Place a towel over the blender lid, and hold it firmly down (to prevent a blender explosion!), starting on low, and increasing to high, blending until smooth. Turn blender off. (At this point you could add the canned chipotle peppers if using. 1-3 peppers will suffice, or for milder, just use the adobo sauce out of the can.) Blend again till very smooth.
Pour this flavorful sauce back into the instant pot or Dutch oven and stir. Add the salted meat and stir to coat well. Feel free to add a piece of orange zest if you like.
Set instant pot to 45 minutes on high pressure. Let it naturally release. Shred the meat using two forks. You can skim the fat if you like, or use it for dipping tortillas, before frying them (traditional).
Dutch Oven: If using a dutch oven, cover tightly, and either simmer on the stove over medium-low heat, 3 hours or bake in a 350F oven, 3 hours. Check at hour 2, for dryness, adding a little more broth if you think necessary.
You could also place this in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours.
After the meat is shredded and mixed back into the cooking liquid, stir in the honey. Taste, adjusting the salt, honey or vinegar to your liking. Sometimes I’ll add a little more ground cinnamon or cumin to taste.
you could serve this as a hearty stew (feel free to thin this out with a little more broth if you prefer) in a bowl, topped with cilantro, radish, cucumber, chopped onion or pickled onion, cotija cheese or sour cream and lime. (Fresh chopped things add good texture.)
You can use Birria as a taco filling. Often you’ll see (Food truck versions) the tortillas dipped into the rich broth, before being fried in a skillet, covered in melty cheese (Oaxacan string cheese) then filled with the Birria and all the fixings’. Decadent, but amazing!