You can’t have a Mexican feast without tacos.
You just can’t. You can however make your Mexican feast so much better with the addition of “puffy” tacos. If you’ve never had a puffy tacos, let me just tell you that you are missing out… big time. Especially when the puffy tacos are filled with birria.
Oh my gosh, so much YUM.
Birria is a traditional Mexican Stew. My brother Brendan’s girlfriend, Lyndsie told me all about it, Then I of course had to make it. I believe that traditionally it’s made with goat meat, but I wasn’t able to find any goat meat where I live. I saw a bunch of recipes that used pork and lamb, so I decided to go with lamb meat. If you’d prefer, you could use a beef roast, pork roast or even chicken thighs.
Birria is basically stewed meat in a spicy tomatillo chile sauce. It seemed like all the recipes I looked at were slightly different from one other, therefore, I decided to pick and choose the best parts. SOO… I’m not sure if this is truly a traditional birria, but it is delicious, and let’s be real, that’s really all that matters.
As I explained yesterday, my family always does Mexican on New Year’s Eve. Yesterday we did a little appetizer/snack recipe, today it’s tacos, and tomorrow…um well, let’s just say it’s going to be cheesy, oh so cheesy. And Wednesday?!? Citrusy and boozy.
These puffy tacos are surely the star of my Mexican Feast. They’re spicy, full of smoky flavors and the meat is perfectly tender. I paired the tacos with a quick mango salsa and a cilantro lime yogurt sauce. The meat is delicious on its own, well maybe just sprinkle of cheese. Then add it to a crunchy taco shell… so good!
You could also serve the meat as a stew in a bowl with warmed flour tortillas. I personally love a good taco though, and I mean, tacos are way more fun than stew. Plus, its New Years, all New Years food should be fun, you know?!?
I’m keeping this week’s posts short and sweet. My mom says I need to try to take a little Christmas break and just breath. For once I’m taking her advice. Well that and the fact that a couple of family members are sick, people are going down like bowling pins. As of right now, I feel A-OK, but I’m thinking I need to make some soup to help people get on the mend. I also need to stay healthy so I can come through on Thursday night with these delicious Birria Puffy Tacos that everyone has been waiting for.
So what are you guys up to this week? Any fun New Year’s Eve plans?? Leave a comment and tell me all about it!
- 4 dried guajillo chiles
- 4 dried ancho chiles
- 2 cups boiling hot water
- 8 tomatillos
- 6 large cloves of garlic, skin on
- 1 sweet onion, halved
- 1 jalapeno
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican Oregano)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 (3 pounds) lamb shoulder or pork shoulder
- salt + pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups Mexican Beer
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Puffy Taco Shells
- 12 corn tortillas
- canola oil, for frying
- lime zest + salt, for sprinkling
- Cilantro Lime Yogurt
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Mango Salsa
- 2 mangos, peeled + diced
- 1 ripe, but firm, avocado, pitted, peeled + diced
- 1 red fresno chili or jalapeño, seeded + diced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- juice of 1 lime
Bring 2-3 cups water to a boil, remove from the heat and add the dried guajillo chiles and ancho chiles, cover and let sit 30 minutes or until the chiles are soft.
Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven over high heat. Add the tomatillos, garlic, onion and jalapeño. Char the veggies all over. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly. Remove the skins from the tomatillos and garlic and remove any completely black pieces from the jalapeño. Add all the charred veggies (skins removed) to a blender. Grab the chiles that have been soaking in water and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking water. Seed the chiles and add them to the blender with the remaining 1/2 cup of soaking water. I like to leave some of the seeds in the chiles for more heat. The more seeds you have = more heat. To the same blender, add the cider vinegar, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, pepper and ginger. Puree until you have smooth red sauce, add water if needed to get the sauce moving a bit.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place the same dutch oven used to char the veggies back on the high heat. Rub the lamb with a little olive oil, salt + pepper. Once the pan is hot, sear the meat on all sides until browned. Remove from the heat. Poor in the red chile sauce, beer and chicken broth. Cover the pot and place on the middle rack in the oven. Slow cook for 3-4 hours or until the lamb is tender and falling off the bone. Check the lamb once or twice throughout cooking, adding chicken broth or water as needed to keep the liquid 1/3 of the way up the meat.
About 30 minutes before eating, make the puffy tacos. Heat a large pot of oil (the oil should come 3-4 inches up the sides of the pot) to around 375 degrees F.
Once the oil is hot, add one tortilla at a time. When the tortilla begins to puff, press the end of a metal spatula or metal kitchen tongs into the middle of the tortilla so that tortilla bends into a taco shape, hold the spatula within the tortilla until the taco is golden brown and crisp, about 1 1⁄2 minutes. Transfer the taco to paper towels to drain; repeat with remaining tortillas. Sprinkle each taco shell with salt and lime zest.
Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the sauce. Shred the meat with two forks and toss with the remaining sauce in the pot, add the cilantro. Season with salt. Serve the meat inside the puffy taco shells with salsa and cilantro yogurt (both recipes below!). EAT and EAT!
In a bowl, combine the mangos, avocados, fresno chili, cilantro and lime juice. Toss well. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix until smooth. Drizzle over the tacos. Store covered in the fridge.
Ok, I’ll take all those tacos now please.
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