Chicken Birria

Chicken Birria

Birria, a classic Mexican stew from Jalisco, is traditionally made with goat but also enjoyed with lamb or beef. This weeknight version features juicy chicken thighs for faster cooking. A quick blender sauce of dried chiles, garlic and tomatoes creates a smoky and rich base for the stew, which deepens in flavor as the chicken simmers. Here, the birria is enjoyed as a stew, but it also makes terrific tacos: Simply dip tortillas in the warm broth, fill them with shredded chicken and top with chopped white onion and cilantro, then fold in half and pan-fry until golden and crispy.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the dried chiles and 1 cup of the broth, and bring to a boil, stirring to submerge the chiles. Remove from heat and let stand for 3 minutes. In a blender, combine the chiles and the liquid, the tomatoes and their juices, vinegar and garlic, then season with salt and pepper, and purée until smooth.
  2. Step 2

    In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add half to the pot. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 3 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  3. Step 3

    Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, oregano, cumin, cloves and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 2 cups broth and the puréed sauce (carefully, as it may splatter), scraping up browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add chicken (and any accumulated juices), and bring to a boil. Simmer briskly over medium, partially covered, until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through, 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt.
  4. Step 4

    Divide birria among 4 bowls, and top with onion and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and rice, if using.