A big bowl of this Slow Cooker Birria de Res, or Mexican Beef stew, is the ultimate comfort food. Deep robust Mexican food flavors that will make your tastebuds very happy. Enjoy!
Birria de Res reminds me of my maternal grandfather. He was born in a humble town in Zacatecas, Mexico – no neon signs, taxis or 7-11s. Like most Mexicans outside of the city, he didn’t have much of an education, but that didn’t stop him. He collected every book or magazine he could get his hands on. Learning was my grandfather’s passion.
My grandfather was a violinist, an engineer, a writer, a man beyond his time. Eventually, he made his way to Durango, Mexico – where my family is from. Each time we visited my abuelito, we would eat Birria de Chivo, or Mexican Stew made with goat. Since goat is hard to find in the US, I’m making this dish with beef. This is the way we make it in Durango. Other states have their versions.
Sear the meat on all sides to lock in the flavors. Mmm… imagine the smell! It’s Mexcellent! 😀
These chiles give good flavor to the Birria de Res. I’m using chile guajillo and ancho chile.
It’s easy to devein and remove the seeds from the chiles. Start by cutting off the tops, or the stems.
Then cut them lengthwise. Do you see the seeds? You don’t want these in your sauce. Remove them. You won’t be able to get all of them. Just remove as many as you can. If you can remove any veins, remove them too.
Place your stems removed, deveined, and seeds removed chiles in a stock pot. You will need to use a pot that can handle all the chiles.
Reconstituting chiles means they have to soak in hot water. This does not take long. 5-10 minutes at the most.
To make the sauce for the Birria de Res you will need all these spices. ¼ cinnamon stick, thyme, oregano, cloves, laurel leaves (or bay leaves), salt, and pepper. It sounds like a lot, but each spice brings a lot of flavor to the dish.
Add the spices, the reconstituted chiles, liquid, bouillon, and garlic to the blend. Blend until smooth. Since we are not straining, make sure it is fully blended. You might need to blend a second time.
Some people will strain the sauce for the Birria de Res. My mom is not much of a strainer. Authentic Mexican food is rustic. I love that about our food. If you like a smoother sauce, then go for it. Strain away. I like my mom’s version, and that’s what I’m going with. Set this aside until ready to use.
Back to our beef… salt and pepper the side that’s up. Then turn and sear the uncooked side. You really want color on your beef. Don’t skip this step. It helps lock in some amazingly delicious flavors.
The slow cooker is your friend in the kitchen. You can go shopping, go horseback riding, watch two movies, and your food will not burn. Gotta love that! Add the beef to the slow cooker.
Now time to add the sauce. You want the sauce to cover the entire piece of beef. If it doesn’t for some strange reason, add more water and a little more salt.
Set it on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. The meat will be tender and ready to eat. Birria de Res is typically served with raw diced onion, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and a dozen tortillas.
Birria de Res screams celebration – birthday parties, Christmas, baby showers. It’s probably because you can make a HUGE pot of this delicious stew, and it feeds large Mexican families. Big families. Big food. Lots of love (and tortillas).
Watch Video and learn how to make Birria de Res
- 4 lbs roast beef
- 3-4 cups water
- 5 dried chile guajillo
- 2 dried chile ancho
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 clove
- ¼ whole cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillon
- 2 laurel leaves (or bay leaves)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Salt and pepper
Heat the griddle, or pan.
Toast the chiles on the griddle for 2-3 minutes.
Make sure they do not burn.
If they burn, discard the chiles and start again.
Once toasted, transfer to a heatproof bowl.
Add 1 cup hot water and let the chiles soak for 5 minutes, or until pliable.
Seed and devein the chiles, saving the water.
Don’t worry if some seeds remain.
Add the saved water, the chiles, garlic, oregano, thyme, clove, cinnamon, bouillon, laurel leaves (or bay leaves), salt and pepper in a blender.
Blend until smooth.
In a large pot, heat two tablespoons oil.
Add salt and pepper to the beef.
Sear the beef on all sides.
Once the meat is brown, transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the chile mixture from the blender.
Add enough water to cover the meat.
Set slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve with diced onions, chopped cilantro, and tortillas.
Searing the meat before adding to the slow cooker locks in flavor. Don't skip this step!
Cut of beef used was chuck roast.
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