Saturday, December 19, 2009

Birria or Stewed Lamb in Chile Sauce

I am still in disbelief that Christmas is just one week away. Since putting my tree up 10 days ago, I find myself making time just to sit close by and enjoy it. Yesterday was a perfect day for just that. It was cold and rainy here in Atlanta and I had absolutely no desire to venture out. In fact I probably wouldn't have changed out of my pajamas all day if Ernesto had not flipped though our favorite cookbook and saw a recipe for Birria, or stewed lamb in chile sauce.
We bought Mexico The Beautiful Cookbook probably 7 years ago. There are stains on it and the pages are worn, but it is still beautiful and always guarantees us a delicious meal.
After looking over the Birria recipe, we decided this called for a trip to the Buford Farmers Market. This market is huge and carries any and every type of hispanic [and Asian] foods you may be looking for. Not to mention, my favorite feature, in house freshly made corn tortillas!

Speaking of fresh tortillas, this Birria dish is served with them on the side or you could even the wrap the meat is in the tortillas. This recipe is typical of Jalisco Mexico, and is hands down, the most delicious lamb I have ever tried. I bet you will not disagree.

(Stewed Lamb in Chile Sauce)
4 chiles guajillos
3 chiles anchos
1 cup hot water
1 lb boneless lean lamb, cut into pieces
1 lb lamb ribs or shanks, cut into pieces
12 cups water
6 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1 small sprig thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp groung chile pequin

1 cup onion, chopped
3 limes, cut in half
1 cup cilantro, chopped

* On an iron skillet, toast the chiles, then soak the chiles in the hot water for 20 minutes. Transfer into blender and puree. Strain and set aside.
Place lamb meat, water, garlic and onion in large dutch oven. Bring to a boil, skim the surface, cover and cook over medium to low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Remove and discard the onion and garlic. Add the pureed chiles, bay leaves, cumin, marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper.

Cook for another 50 minutes to let the flavors blend. Meanwhile, blend the sauce ingredients in a blender.

Serve the lamb in deep bowls with hot corn tortillas and the garnishes sprinkled on top.
Add sauce according to desired spiciness.

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