Low and slow is the way to go with this Mexican-inspired dish

One thing I’ve learned while living close to our neighbors to the South is that their culture embraces a different celebration at the end of October — instead of Halloween, they celebrate the Day of the Dead (known as Día de Muertos in Spanish) from October 31 through November 2. On this holiday, Mexicans remember and honor their deceased loved ones by visiting cemeteries, decorating the graves and spending time together. It is not uncommon for the cemetery visitors to bring along food and drink and picnic with their ancestors. What, might you ask, does one serve on a cemetery picnic? Since I’ve never visited Mexico during this time of year, I don’t have firsthand experience, but I imagine it would include something a bit spicy, perhaps featuring cabrito as part of the main course. The following recipe for birria uses a low-and-slow cooking technique. Birria, which colloquially means “a mess,” serves up meat that is fork-tender with a tomatillo broth infused with rich, meaty fla- vor. The dish is served with tortillas and lime wedges. The recipe calls for two items that might not be familiar to you: dried guajillo chilies and tomatillos. Both can be found in the produce section of your local Wal-Mart or Mexican grocery store. Serrano chilies, also mentioned in this recipe, are pretty darn hot so I have made them optional. While I like spicy food, the serrano pepper made it too hot for me! Add it at your own risk.

Birria From SAVEUR: Soups and Stews

1 dried guajillo chile, stemmed 1 cup boiling water

8 tomatillos, husked and cored 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled 1 medium white onion (minced)

1 serrano chile, stemmed (optional) 1

2 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican 1

4 cup cider vinegar

4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 (2) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tsp. ground cinnamon 12 tsp. ground cumin

1 2 tbsp. canola oil

3 lb. bone-in goat shoulder, cut into 3 pieces Kosher salt, to taste 1 1

2 cup roughly chopped cilantro Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving

1 2 cups chicken stock Lime wedges, for serving

Heat a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high flame. Add guajillo chile; cook, flipping once, until lightly toasted, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add water, and let sit until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove chile, discard stem and seeds, and return to blender; set aside.

Return pot to medium-high; cook tomatillos, garlic, one-half onion, 38 Goat Rancher | October 2021

Add oil to pan; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook goat meat, turning as needed until browned, about 18–20 minutes. Transfer goat to a bowl; set aside. Add minced onion; cook until soft, 2–3 minutes. Add reserved chile sauce; simmer until thickened, 4–6 minutes. Return goat to pan and add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, until goat is tender, about 2 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer goat to a cut- ting board. Let cool slightly; shred meat, discarding bones, and return to pan. Stir in cilantro; serve with tortillas and lime wedges. Serves 6-8.

(Suzanne Stemme lives with her husband, Dr. Kraig Stemme,

DVM, in Alba, Texas. The Stemmes raise Kiko breeding stock at Lake Fork Kikos. You can reach Suzanne via their website: www.lakefork-

and serrano (if using), turning as needed, until blackened all over, 12– 15 minutes. Peel garlic and transfer to blender with remaining charred vegetables. Add vinegar, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, pepper and ginger; purée until smooth.


This recipe uses dried guajillo chilies, above, and tomatil- los, right.

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