Slow-Cooked Birria - Authentic Mexican Beef Stew

Danita Delimont / Getty Images
  • 95 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 75 mins
  • Yield: 4 bowls (4 servings)
Ratings (12)

A delicious beef stew in the slow-cooker made with tender chunks of beef and a red chile broth flavored with onions and garlic.  This recipe requires about 20 minutes of prep work but you can do most of it the night before, such as chopping the onions and garlic.

What You'll Need

  • 6 dried red chiles
  • 2 lbs chuck roast
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (dried)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano (dried)
  • 6-8 lime wedges (chopped onion, chopped cilantro and warm tortillas for the side)

How to Make It

Prepare the red chiles by cutting the tops off and removing the stem. I like to use scissors because the dried chiles can be tough.Then, cut a slit down the side of the chile to split it open. The majority of the seeds will shake right out. Use your fingers or a spoon to scrape any additional seeds off and pull off any dried veins. Place it in a bowl and cover it with hot water. The chile will need to soak 20-30 minutes depending on how thick it is.

Use a spoon to occasionally push it under the water if it floats too much. After you soak the chile the water will be a brownish color like very diluted coffee. Depending on the chile, it may be bitter or it may have the chiles flavor in it, which may actually be similar in flavor to diluted coffee. If the water is bitter, discard it. If the water has a good flavor to it, you can use it in with the beef broth for extra flavor.  Chop the chile into fine bits. Use a food processor or blender if you want.

Cut the beef into 1-inch chunks.  I find this easier if the meat is partially frozen.  Or you can have your butcher do it.

Peel the onion and discard the papery outer skin.  Chop or dice into fine 1/4 inch pieces or smaller.  Peel the garlic and crush it or chop it finely.  In a large pan, add the oil and begin to saute the onions for about a minute to soften them.  Turn the heat to high and add the beef into the pot and turn the pieces often until all of the beef is browned and beginning to get a little crispy on the edges (it doesn't matter if it is cooked all the way through.) Add in the garlic and continue to cook the mixture for another minute.  Transfer the cooked beef mixture to your slow cooker and add the beef broth.

Add the red chiles, bay leaves, thyme, cumin, and oregano.  I start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add more later if needed.  Turn the slow-cooker to low and let it cook for about 6 hours. Taste the stew and add more salt or seasonings as necessary. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

Serve the stew with fresh chopped onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and a stack of steaming hot tortillas.  Serve each bowl with a lime wedge.