Lamb Birria Tacos
Chef-owner Alex Seidel
Fruition Restaurant and Mercantile Dining and Provision
Birria tacos are trending now in taquerias and food trucks around the U.S. Birria originated in the Mexican state of Jalisco, where it is traditionally made with goat meat. Lamb is more common north of the border, as in this version created by chef Alex Seidel, owner of Fruition Restaurant in Denver. He starts by braising lamb shanks with a variety of chiles and spices, then filling corn tortillas with the tender, flavorful meat.
3 to 4 lb. whole lamb shanks
4 dried guajillo chiles, stems removed and coarsely chopped or torn
3 dried ancho chiles, stems removed and coarsely chopped or torn
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 yellow onions, 1 diced and 1 finely chopped, divided
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh marjoram
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 cups lamb or beef stock
1 bunch cilantro, minced
16 fresh corn tortillas, warmed
1. In food processor, combine guajillo, ancho and chipotle chiles with garlic, cumin, coriander and oregano. Pulse to form a coarse paste.
2. Coat bottom of a large heavy-bottom stockpot with oil; heat over medium heat. Add chile-garlic mixture and diced onion; gently cook about 5 minutes or until onions are soft, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and marjoram; season with salt and pepper. Add lamb shanks and stock.
3. Gently simmer about 2 hours or until lamb is tender and pulls away from the bones. Using a strainer, remove lamb and pick meat from bones. Roughly chop lamb and return meat to liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. To serve, ladle birria into bowls. Top with finely chopped onion and cilantro. Serve with warmed tortillas.
Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board