My favorite Mexican dish – an aromatic, spicy meat stew – is birria. Birria has a rich history, with origins stemming from the Middle East and Asia. In the past, ingredients like bread and rice were often included in birria to provide relief from extreme weather conditions. Nowadays, many regions of Mexico offer their own variation of this dish; each region offers slightly different spices or cooking methods which make it impossible to recreate one singular recipe. The birria complicated simply delicious, with so many layers of flavor that it can be difficult to pick out each individual taste. However, there are common attributes that the dish has in all regions; the most important being that the dish has a strong “meatiness” because of the inclusion of beef and goat meat.
Birria is usually consumed on Sundays in restaurants or at home under large tents filled with family and friends who prepare big pots of this meaty stew throughout the day as people around them sample bites between games of soccer or dominoes.
1. Birria’s Meaty Flavor:
The strong meaty flavors of birria come from the high-quality cuts of meat whenever possible. Birria is typically made with a variety of meats, but usually at least two different meats are included. These include beef (caballo or carnero) and goat (berberero or cabrito). Once the meat is cooked, it is usually served with onion and cilantro (cilantro). Cilantro can be added to the stew in several ways: whole leaves rolled in rice, ground into an ingredient for tacos or burritos, chopped and sprinkled on top of birra during serving, or eaten raw. Cilantro is a commonly used herb in Mexican cooking and is also known for having a “clean” flavor.
2. The Social Aspect of Birria:
Birria has a rich history which can be felt in the culture surrounding it. In many regions of Mexico during the early twentieth century, Sunday was the only day that people could relax and gather together before going to work on Monday morning. This tradition is so strong that in many regions of Mexico, it is illegal to sell birria on Sundays because the law states that Sunday is for rest, relaxation and family.
3. Birria’s Spicy Flavor:
The spice level of birria varies from region to region; however, it would be fair to say that the heat in birria is typically lower than other spicy dishes. In fact, in some areas of Mexico, a little pepper (cayenne) and salt sprinkled on top of birria before serving can help reduce the spice level. This is especially true when birria is served as a side dish or a topping for hot dogs and French fries. The spices in birria which add the spicy flavor include: chiles, ground red pepper and black pepper.
4. The Many Ways to Eat Birria:
Birria can be eaten in many ways. The most common way is to eat the broth with bread rolls, rice, tortillas or soft tacos. A spoonful of the broth in combination with shredded pieces of meat can also be an excellent soup. One popular way to eat birria is by putting pieces of bread into a bowl and then putting pieces of meat and onions on top; it is then eaten like a sandwich.
5. Birria’s Nutritionally-Build Recipe:
Birria is known as a stew because it is cooked with bone from the animal that was used to obtain the meat ingredients. The broth essentially consists of cooking the meat, adding spices and herbs, then straining the broth after cooking. The ingredients in birria include: beef and goat meat, onion, chili peppers (chiles), cilantro (cilantro), garlic and oregano. Cilantro is a commonly used herb in Mexican cooking and known for having a “clean” flavor.
6. Birria’s Popularity at All Times of the Day:
Again, birria can be eaten at any time of the day and throughout any season of the year. It is known as a Friday dish because it is served in most restaurants and butcher shops on Fridays. In regions where this dish is enjoyed, it is commonly prepared for breakfast burritos, served with pitas or tortillas; or rice and beans. Birria can also be enjoyed as a snack by adding to a bag of chips or French fries for dipping; birria is also commonly served at parties as a side-dish with tacos, tortas and quesadillas.
7. Birria’s Popularity Throughout Mexico:
Birria is commonly enjoyed throughout Mexico, and it can be found in most parts of the country at specialties spots (e.g., restaurants, butcher shops) and even in little restaurants and eateries that are scattered around neighborhoods.