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!

Get Ready for More Heartland!

Photo credit: Andrew Bako. Courtesy of CBC. 

BY JENN WEBSTER

Have you heard? There will be a season #13 of Heartland! For all you Heartland fans out there, Season 12 airs Sundays at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem through early April. The current and past seasons are available on-demand on the free CBC Gem streaming service. But if that isn’t enough, recently we had the opportunity to interview Amber Marshall. In a Q & A-style dialogue, here are a few highlights from that visit:

Q. What’s next for the characters or the show? What is something you would like to see within the show in the next few years?

AMBER – My favorite aspect about season 12 is the “togetherness” between Amy, Ty and Lindy. We’ve seen them go through ups and downs and we’ve watched them focus on building a business together. It’s really great for fans to see them working together towards a common dream. And to see them as parents.

This year we introduced “Luke,” a troubled kid who comes to Heartland to escape the troubles of his own life on weekends and spend time with Ty. It’s a neat dynamic between these characters. Ty gets to witness some of his past through this young child. And he is able to help the child because of what Ty has gone through.

In their loft home above the Heartland barn, Amy (Amber Marshall), Ty (Graham Wardle) and their daughter Lyndy (Ruby/Emmanuella Spencer). Photo credit: Andrew Bako. Courtesy of CBC.

Georgie is with a new jumping trainer this season and we see her reaching new levels. That’s exciting! That’s one thing I love about Heartland, the fact that we cover so many different disciplines. Amy is more western but Georgie is more English. Alisha Newton herself, is a really talented English rider, whereas, and I’m more western. The writers of the show picked up on that. That’s going to make the stories more real and make us as actors, interact in better in our roles better.

Ep. 1210 | Alisha Newton stars as Georgie, seen here with her horse Phoenix, on Heartland. | Air date: Sun, March 31 at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) | Photo credit: Andrew Bako.

Q. You have been a contributing producer to the show for about five years now. What do you like about that position?

AMBER – I love what I can contribute to the show in terms of practical horse sense. We feature so many different horse aspects on the show. Sometimes an idea is brought up and although I may really love the idea, I will often speak up about how I feel the idea can be accomplished. Our writers do an extreme amount of research and they are very talented, but often they have never owned a horse or experienced the day-to-day to life on a ranch. I live this life on a ranch. And I’m always trying to create the most real experiences I can for Heartland. Whenever something happens interesting in my life, I take it to the writers. Sometimes that say say “Great!” Other times they think about it.

However, my absolute favorite part about that role of contributing producer is, I attend all the meetings ahead of time and go through a step-by-step process to create the show. There is so much prep-work before we ever begin filming! There are weeks put in with the directors and writers in finding locations, the right horses, and the right aspects for the upcoming scenes. There is so much time put into prep, that make our days on set run smoothly. But if the prep not done properly, it doesn’t run smoothly at all. All these things must be choreographed. I think my favorite part about the producer role is that I get to understand all those steps. I’m no longer blind to why certain decisions have been made before we get there. I get to understand everything that goes into making the show.

Ep. 1210 | Amber Marshall stars as Amy Fleming on Heartland. | Air date: Sun, March 31 at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) | Photo credit: Andrew Bako

Q. Will any of our favourite character horses make an appearance in season 12?

AMBER – I loved working with the mare and foal in season 12! We do get to see them in the wild herd. Of course, Amy wants to check up with them in herd! There’s also a really great story with a Thoroughbred racehorse owned by Lisa Stillman. We also see more of Spartan, who Amy is penning on in the future! Geogie has a great season with Pheonix. And we do introduce new palomino.

Q. You are very involved with many of the horsemanship and stunts on the show – is there any particular new discipline, sport, or type of horse that you would like to see on an upcoming episode of Heartland?

AMBER – Over the last 12 years, we have covered so many disciplines; jousting, mounted archery, every discipline in the book. One thing we’ve never done however is, mounted shooting – but that would be neat. I also think a seeing eye pony would be cool. We really try to reach out and try new disciplines to show the world.

I’ve had so many people come up to me over the years and tell me, “Heartland has inspired me to get on a horse and take lessons!” at whatever age they might be. And they do!

My grandmother even rode her very first horse at the age of 80 because she was inspired by Heartland. It was on her bucket list. She actually took lessons for over a year and now every year, she comes out to my ranch to ride with us on the trails. She’s in her mid-80s!

A CBC original series, HEARTLAND is produced by Seven24 Films and Dynamo Films, and stars Amber Marshall, Michelle Morgan, Graham Wardle, Chris Potter, Shaun Johnston and Alisha Newton. 

Find HEARTLAND online:

Stream all episodes | CBC.ca/Heartland

facebook.com/CBCHeartland | @HeartlandOnCBC

#iloveheartlandinstagram.com/Official_HeartlandonCBC