Lamb Birria Tacos
Micklethwait Craft Meats
Birria tacos have surged in popularity, featured extensively on social media feeds and spreading to chain restaurant menus. This version uses lamb instead of the typical beef, braising the meat in a chili-flavored broth. The same broth is served as a dip on the side with the finished tacos, just like the traditional beef consommé.
1 boneless leg of lamb
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 onion, diced
1 qt. rich beef or chicken stock
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
4 guajillo chilies, toasted
4 arbol chilies, toasted
¼ cup light chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Cilantro and chopped onion, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325 F. In 6-quart Dutch oven or similar pot, sear lamb leg in oil over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove lamb; deglaze pan with vinegar. Add onion; cook until semi-translucent. Add stock, garlic, bay leaves, guajillo chiles and arbol chiles; bring to a simmer.
- Return lamb to pot; cover. Roast in oven for 3 hours or until lamb is fork tender. Remove lamb from stock; set aside.
- Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander and cinnamon to stock; reduce over medium heat by one fourth. Shred cooked lamb; add 1 cup of chili broth to meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Fill tortillas with cheese and lamb; toast until cheese melts and tortillas are crispy and brown. Garnish with cilantro and onion. Serve reserved broth on side for dipping tacos.
Photo courtesy of The American Lamb Board