Birria Tacos


Not your average “Taco Tuesday” evening dinner.

By MIKE EDGAR, Photos by TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

Birria tacos are becoming all the rage and after one bite, you’ll want them for supper every night too. Birria is traditionally a Mexican dish consisting of a meat stew made from goat meat, and occasionally beef or mutton (but never pork). The stew is slow-cooked and has a savoury, sweet and sour flavour, with a hint of spice.

In Birria tacos, the stew is placed inside a tortilla shell with cheese, dipped in broth and fried up. This isn’t an easy dish to prepare, but once you taste a bite of a Birria taco’s sizzled, cheesy, crispy, goodness – you’ll never want a normal taco again.

BIRRIA STEW INGREDIENTS
 
For the Meat:
1 lb Beef Chuck
1 lb Beef Shank
1 lb Beef Shortrib
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
 
For the Broth:
4 Dried New Mexico Chilies
4 Dried Ancho Chilies
1 Can Chipotle Pepper in Adobo
2 Tsp. Whole Peppercorns
2 Cloves
10 Whole Star Anise, Dry
4 Bay Leaves
5 Three-Inch Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger
8 Garlic Cloves
1 Spanish Onion, Sliced
2 Cups Crushed Tomato
1 Litre Beef Stock
2 Oranges Sliced
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
 
For the Tacos:
Tortillas of Your Choice
Diced White Onion
Fresh Cilantro
2 Cups Oaxaca Cheese, Shredded 
Fresh Lime
Fresh Jalapeño
Shredded Stew Meat

METHOD FOR THE MEAT
Remove stems and seeds from chilies. In a pot, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add the chilies and simmer until tender (around two minutes). Add chillies and half the water to a blender and puree until smooth, then add the canned chipotle and puree again until smooth. Set aside until its time to build the stew.
 
Cut your meat into manageable pieces and season with salt pepper and cumin. In a heavy dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil until you start to see it smoke. Brown your meat a little at a time, ensuring you get a good sear. Then remove it from the pot.

Using the same pot, sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add peppercorns, cumin, ginger, bay leaves, clove, star anise, cinnamon sticks and salt. Sauté for another two minutes. Add your beef, crushed tomato, beef broth, oranges, sugar, and chillie puree.

If the meat is not covered by liquid, add an appropriate amount of water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover and place in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for four hours. If after four hours the meat is not tender enough to shred, then put the lid back on and continue to cook until tender.
 
After the meat has reached desired texture, remove from the oven and let the meat cool in the broth. Once cooled, remove the meat from the broth and shred with a fork or by hand. Set aside in a bowl.
 
Strain the broth into a pot, making sure all the spices are removed. Keep the broth in the fridge until needed.
 

The stewed meat is placed inside a tortilla with cheese, dipped into broth and then placed into your cast iron pan for frying.
Once one side is fried to crispy goodness, fold the tortilla and fry the other side.

METHOD FOR THE TACOS
Mix the oaxaca cheese into the shredded stew meat. Remove the broth from the fridge and place half of it into a bowl or shallow plastic container. Warm the other remaining half of the broth on low heat, on the stove.

In a large cast iron pan on medium high heat, warm some vegetable oil. Fill your tortillas with the shredded meat and cheese, then quickly dip into the cold broth (which was set aside in a bowl) and fry in your cast iron pan on each side – until golden brown and until the cheese melts.

Place the now fried Birria tacos on a serving platter. Pour the warm broth into a ramekin or bowl and place next to the tacos for dipping. Garnish with chopped onion, sliced jalapeños, lime wedges, and cilantro. Grab a taco and plunge it into the warm Birria broth and enjoy! 

When you are ready to enjoy your Birria tacos, dip into the warm broth and enjoy!

Fireside Trout

This beautiful trout recipe is so easy to cook and a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography

By Chef Mike Edgar

This Rainbow Trout dish is best enjoyed next to the fire with your favourite people and a setting sun. Fireside Trout Pouches go amazingly well with Fennel Roast Baby Potatoes and Bannock on a Stick. Make these recipes over the campfire on your next trail ride and it’s a trip no one will forget!

Trout Pouches
 
INGREDIENTS:
6 Whole, Deboned Rainbow Trout (Roughly, two pounds each)
1 Package Fresh Cherry Tomatoes
250 Grams Whole Olives
1/2 Pound Sliced Butter
4 Lemons Sliced
Fresh Basil
Fresh Parsley
Salt 
Pepper
6 Large Sheets Tinfoil
18 Slices Sliced Pancetta
2 Bulbs Fresh Fennel
2 Pounds Baby Potatoes
24 Fresh Clams
 
Pancetta Method:
In a cast iron, pan fry the pancetta until crispy. Set aside for garnish.

These roasted fennel baby potatoes are a delicious and hearty side-dish, cooked easily over a grill. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Fennel Roast Baby Potatoes Method:
Cut potatoes in half and boil in water for five minutes to soften them up. Remove from water and set aside. Slice your fennel as thin as you can and sauté over medium heat in butter or oil in a cast iron pan. When the fennel starts to caramelize, add the potatoes and another tablespoon of butter or oil, cover and continue to cook. Stir often until potatoes are nicely roasted and fennel is sweet and crunchy – approximately 20 minutes. Wrap in a tinfoil pouch and set aside to reheat.
 
Trout Method:
To begin, cut your sheets of tinfoil to make your pouches. Place lemon slices and fresh torn herbs down first. Season the trout inside and out with salt and pepper, stuff with some herbs and some lemon slices. Place two to three slices of butter over the trout. Add four tomatoes, four olives and four clams.

Fold the tinfoil around everything to make a sealed pouch. Ensure there are no leaks and is everything is sealed, (you can always wrap a second tinfoil sheet around if need be.) Place your pouches either next to the fire as close to the heat as possible, or over the fire on a grill. Depending on the heat of your fire, the trout should take no more than 20 minutes to cook. Flip the pouches every five minutes. Make sure you put your pouch of fennel potatoes on the fire as well to heat up again!
 
Open your pouches. If you feel that your fish needs more time, just wrap it back up and put back on the heat. Discard any clams that have not opened. Top your trout with chopped parsley and basil, the crispy pancetta and a drizzle of olive oil. Place your potatoes around the trout and dig in.

Bannock on a stick is a great recipe to enjoy with kids! Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Bannock on a Stick
 
INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Powdered Milk
1 Tbsp. Melted Butter
 
Once you have combined all the above ingredients and created your dough, take the dough and role into a long thin shape. Start wrapping the dough around a carefully chosen stick, (an ideal stick is one that would work for cooking hot dogs or marshmallows over a fire.) As you wrap, spiral the dough down down the stick and compress and spread it, so the dough is half-an-inch thick.
 
The inside of the dough needs to cook before the outside over-cooks. Therefore, you need to find the perfect distance from the fire. The best way to do this is to find a spot where you can hold your hand over the fire for 15 to 20 seconds.
 
Once you have found the perfect cooking spot, hold the bannock in place, rotating so all sides cook evenly. This should take 10 minutes. The dough should easily come off the stick when cooked. If it sticks, the dough is not cooked.
 
Serve with warm butter and jam of your choice.

Wojabi
 
Wojabi is an American Indian Berry sauce. You can use any mix of berries you like. For this recipe, w used Saskatoon berries and blueberries.
 
2 1/2 Cups of each Berry
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Honey
 
After washing your fruit, place all ingredients into a pot and mash with a fork or potato masher. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for an hour stirring occasionally so nothing burns. Let cool and enjoy! 

For some expert trail riding advice, check WHR’s recent article here. Photo by Monique Noble.