FOR THE BEEF :
- 8 cupsof water
- 4bay leaves
- 3lbs pot roast beef
- 5lbs beef shanks
- Whole head of garlic
- Optional – beef bones with marrow if you’re not using beef shanks
- 1 tablespoonof salt
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 5anchos chiles
- 5guajillo chiles
- 2pasilla chiles
- 3–4Chiles de Arbol (optional) (for added spiciness. Leave out if you don’t want it spicy)
- ½ teaspoonblack pepper
- 1 teaspooncumin
- 2 teaspoonsdried marjoram
- 2 teaspoonsdried thyme
- 2 teaspoonsdried oregano
- 1 teaspoonground ginger or 2 inches fresh ginger peeled
- ½ teaspoonground cinnamon or 1 inch of stick
- ¼ cupapple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoonground cloves or 5 whole cloves
- ½a medium onion
- 8Garlic cloves
- 1Canned chipotle pepper
- 1 cupchili pod cooking liquid
- 3–4Roma tomatoes
- Salt to taste
For the Quesa Taco
- 24corn tortillas
- 4 cupsshredded Chihuahua or mozzarella cheese or other mild melting cheese
- 1 cupdiced onion (or more to your liking)
- ½ cupchopped cilantro (or more to your liking)
- several lime wedges
You want to start by make the beef birria. Do this early if possible because it’s the part that will take the longest. The meat has too cook for at least 3 ½ hours so that it’s super soft and tender.
FOR THE BEEF BIRRIA
- Start by chopping the pot roast into smaller chunks about the size of your palm and adding to a large pot along with the beef shanks and 8 cups of water to cover.
- Then, to the same pot add 1 onion cut in half, 8 garlic cloves, 4 bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon salt or to taste and cook while making sure to skim the impurities from the top.
- While the meat cooks prepare the sauce.
- Start by opening the dried chili pods and removing all of the seeds and veins and running them under water to remove any dirt on the outside. Please wear gloveswhen removing the seeds and veins!
- To a medium pot, add the ancho, guajillo, pasilla, optional chile de arbol, and fill with enough water to cover the chili pods and bring the water to a boil.
- Once it has come to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To another pot, add some water and boil the tomatoes until soft and set aside.
- To a blender add the softened ancho, guajillo, pasilla, optional chile de arbol, black pepper, cumin, marjoram, thyme, oregano, ginger, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, cloves, ½ an onion, chipotle pepper, 8 garlic cloves, tomatoes, and 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the chilies. Blend until you have a smooth puree. If you need to add more liquid, it’s ok to add more liquid so it blends more smoothly.
- To the pot with your meat (which is not fully cooked yet), over a strainer, pour in the chili sauce.
- You should be left with only the pulp of the chilies in the strainer. Discard the pulp and repeat until all of the sauce has been strained into the pot.
- Continue to cook until the meat is soft and tender, approximately 3 ½ hours of cooking time. Once soft, and falling apart, turn off the heat and set aside.
- Remove the meat from the beef broth and chop into smaller pieces or shred and set aside. Also, remove any large chunks of fat and discard.
- You will notice that the rendered fat has settle at the top. With a ladle or a large spoon skim the liquid fat from the top trying not to take to too much of the actual broth onto the spoon and place that into a bowl. You want to pick out as much of the rendered beef fat as possible. We will use this to dip our tortillas in when we start to make our cheese tacos.
FOR THE QUESA TACOS
- Start by warming up a griddle, non-stick pan or comal on medium heat.
- Dip part of a corn tortilla into the rendered beef fat we had set aside in a bowl. Dip about ⅓ of it on one side if possible.
- Place your tortilla on to the griddle swishing it around for a couple of seconds so that the grease coats the rest of the tortilla.
- To one half of the tortilla add some of the shredded beef and cheese, then fold over and let it crisp on that side, after about 2 minutes flip over and crisp on the other side for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and onto a plate.
- Repeat until you have finished making all of your quesa tacos.
CONSOMÉ FOR DIPPING
- To a small bowl approximately the size of 1 cup, add some of the beef broth and chopped meat.
- Optionally you can also add diced onion, cilantro, your favorite salsa, and some lime to the broth.
- Serve the tacos with a cup of the broth for dipping.