Quesabirria

I follow a woman on Instagram – I actually have no idea what the account name is – who goes to restaurants and tries their food, takes pretty pictures and gives reviews. If that isn’t the perfect job, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, a week or so ago, she reviewed a Mexican restaurant somewhere that served quesabirrias. As soon as I saw it, I wanted a million of them.

It’s like a taco beef dip kind of deal. I went searching and found out the basics of this recipe. Then I needed to make a field trip to Unimarket here in Calgary to get the dried chiles I needed. This is simple, easy to find ingredients – even the chiles should be easy to find. If not, ancho chiles will do the job.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs beef – if you have any beef bones, add them in, they make an even better broth
  • water to cover the beef
  • 2-4 bay leaves – depends how big they are
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1-3 tsp chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp of bouillon – chicken, beef or vegetable
  • 1 large onion, chopped into quarters
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed a bit to open them up
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese – might need more or less, depends on how cheesy you want your tacos and how many you make – You may use a different cheese, you want something mild and very melty
  • 2 dozen small flour or corn tortillas
  • 3 (or more) guajillo peppers – they are very mild. When I first tasted the broth, there was a little heat from the peppers at the top of my throat, but as the broth cooked, the heat disappeared and I added another pepper

Put the beef and spices in a dutch oven.

Remove the stems and seeds from the guajillo peppers and put the in the pot, also. The heat comes from the seeds, so leave some or all in if you enjoy more heat. If I had realized how mild these chiles are, I would have left in at least half of the seeds.

Bring the whole works to a gentle boil, skim off any scum that might make its way to the top of the liquid.

After 30 minutes, fish out your peppers. Put them into a blender or food processor and grind them up. Use some broth if you need to to get them as smooth as possible. If there are bits of skin, pour the chiles back into the pot through a mesh strainer.

Now just put the lid on the dutch oven and let it simmer on low for about 3 hours.

Once your simmer time is up and your beef is shreddable, take the beef out of the broth and shred it. Strain the broth to get the aromatics out – they are spent. You could also use a hand blender and just make the broth smooth that way. Whatever works for you. I dumped the onion and garlic in the compost.

If you are keto or low carb – serve the beef as part of a salad or on low carb tortillas. Don’t forget to use the broth – it is amazing.

If you are not keto or low carb and are having tacos for dinner, get out a bunch of small corn or flour tortillas and get a pan or grill ready.

Pour your broth into a bowl, dip each tortilla into the broth, both sides, and place your tortilla in your pan or on your grill. Once the first side of the tortilla is crisped a bit, flip it, add some cheese and beef to it and flip up half of the tortilla to cover the contents. If you need to, give it a little pressure to hold the fold, then just let the cheese get melty. Once the cheese is melty, take the taco out/off and carry on with the next one.

I used a Lodge cast iron grill pan that sits over two burners on my stove so I could do three tacos at a time. I think I ended up with about 2 dozen of them by the time I was done.

When you serve the tacos, include a small bowl of the broth to dip the tacos in. Pretty messy business, but well worth it.

My son said, while all of us were moaning about our very full bellies, that he wished he could have these every single night, they were that good.

This could be done in a slow cooker, no problem. Start it in the morning or even the night before (beef can take a lot of cooking).

I don’t think this could be done very well in an Instant Pot. You would have to cook it, vent it, scoop any scum, pull out the peppers and buzz them, then resume cooking again. I find also that the Instant Pot doesn’t produce the same depth of flavour that cooking low and slow does.

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