Bring the heart of Mexico to your dinner table with quesabirria. It’s a stunning medley of spices, melt-in-your-mouth beef, and oozy cheese, all wrapped in a crispy tortilla!
Imagine a warm, toasty tortilla filled with succulent, shredded beef that has been slow-cooked to perfection, seasoned with a blend of traditional Mexican spices. As you take a bite, the cheese pulls away, perfectly melted and oh-so-delectable, harmonizing beautifully with the sharp freshness of diced onions and cilantro. This is the quesabirria experience, a culinary treasure that offers a truly immersive journey into the soul of Mexican cuisine.
The Rise of Quesabirria
Birria tacos, originating from the western Mexican state of Jalisco, trace their roots back to the 16th century. Their inception coincides with the Spanish colonization of Mexico, which brought about significant changes to the local cuisine. Despite the Spaniards’ preference for livestock such as goats, they regarded goat meat as undesirable. However, the indigenous people of Mexico demonstrated their culinary creativity and resilience by transforming this overlooked ingredient into a tender, flavorful stew. Today, birria stands as a testament to Jalisco’s rich culinary history and the ingenuity of its people in overcoming colonial impositions, turning humble ingredients into an enduring culinary masterpiece.
The evolution of birria into Quesabirria, a tantalizing fusion of birria and quesadilla, is a testament to the creativity and dynamism of Mexican cuisine. This innovative dish emerged as chefs and home cooks began incorporating the flavorful meat from the birria stew into tortillas, creating a mouthwatering combination that quickly gained popularity. Quesabirria’s unique blend of flavors and textures has made it a standout dish not only in Mexico but also in street food scenes worldwide. Today, this dish continues to bring people together over shared tables, infusing every occasion with warmth and liveliness, and serving as a reminder of the rich culinary heritage it represents.
A Tale of Two Tacos: Birria Tacos and Quesabirria
Birria tacos and Quesabirria, while similar in many ways, have some key differences that set them apart. Birria tacos primarily feature tender, slow-cooked meat from the traditional Mexican stew, birria, served in a tortilla. The tortilla is often dipped in the consommé, or the rich broth from the stew, before being filled with the meat and garnishes like onions and cilantro. Quesabirria, on the other hand, is a delightful fusion of birria and quesadilla, where the tortilla is not only filled with the flavorful birria meat but also with melted cheese. Like birria tacos, the tortilla is dipped in the consommé before cooking, resulting in a crispy, cheesy, and deliciously savory treat.
Frequently Asked Questions
While birria is traditionally made with goat or beef, you can always substitute with lamb or even chicken if needed, though the cooking time may vary. Keep in mind that using any meat other than goat or beef can change the overall flavor and texture of this dish.
You can use either corn or flour tortillas, depending on your preference. Corn tortillas are traditional, but flour tortillas will work just as well.
Quesabirria is typically served hot with a side of the consommé (the rich broth in which the meat was cooked). Garnishing with fresh lime wedges, radish slices, and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro adds an extra layer of freshness.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
Quesabirria is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For reheating, warm the tortillas in a skillet over medium heat until the cheese is melted and the tortillas regain their crispiness.
Discover the Flavors of Mexico with My Latina Table
My Latina Table, a prominent food blog by Charbel Barker, is an excellent resource for those seeking authentic Mexican recipes and culinary insights. Born and raised in Mexico, Charbel showcases her love and passion for her cultural roots through her delicious and traditional recipes. By visiting My Latina Table, you’ll find inspiration and guidance from a true authority on Mexican cuisine. Dive into the vibrant world of Mexican flavors and make your culinary journey even more enriching with her expertise.
Watch the video below where Caytlin will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
For the Birria Stew:
- 4 dried ancho chiles
- 2 dried guajillo chiles
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 pounds beef chuck roast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 white onion diced
- 4 cups beef broth
- 18 street taco-sized corn or flour tortillas
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro
- Shredded Oaxaca cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- In a medium-sized pot, bring water to a boil. Add dried chiles and submerge them in the hot water. Let them sit for 15-20 minutes until they have softened. After that, drain the chiles, remove the stems, and scrape out the seeds.
- Transfer the softened peppers to a blender or food processor. Add the chipotle peppers, garlic, crushed tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, paprika, cumin, allspice, and cinnamon. Process the mixture until it’s smooth.
- Over medium-high heat, warm a large, oven-safe Dutch oven pot. Add vegetable oil to the pot. Season the chuck roast with salt and sear it on all sides until browned. Remove the roast and set it aside.
- In the same pot, sauté diced onions for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the chili paste mixture and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add the beef broth to the pot and stir to combine. Return the seared roast to the pot, submerging it in the liquid. Cover the pot and transfer it to the preheated oven. Roast the meat until it is tender and can be easily shredded, which should take about 3 hours.
- Remove the roast from the liquid and shred it. Spoon some of the liquid into individual serving bowls for dipping, but keep the meat and the remaining liquid separate.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dip a tortilla into the liquid until it is fully submerged, then immediately place it in the hot skillet. Toast it for 1-2 minutes until browned, then flip it over. Put a bit of cheese, some shredded meat, and a generous pinch of onion and cilantro on half of the toasted tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half to cover the filling. Continue toasting until the cheese is melted, ensuring both sides are toasted. Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.
- Serve the quesabirrias immediately while hot, accompanied by the dipping liquid.