Birria de Chivo--Goat Birria

Our Thanksgiving meal. My sister-in-love has her parents up from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Since they were God-parents to our eldest child, they helped us with the party after the Baptism and together, in Mexico (!!where all these ingredients are easy to pull together whenever you need them!!), we made this recipe.

This recipe isn't so easy to pull together in a couple days, although, it is possible. (You may now "ohh and ahhh!) Having gone through the process, I do recommend advance planning with certain items. Grand Rapids may not be small, but it certainly isn't Guadalajara with penca de maguey and chile de mirasol (regular, not sweet.)

My Mexican husband was talking to my non-Mexican mom about the history of Birria. I just felt like I am taking this blog up a notch with what he said. It is not a small meal. (It is also not a small blog post. It is a feat, and as pregnant as I was while recording, my feet swelled up, even though I wasn't the primary chef.)

It is a meal for parties. Big parties like QuinceƱeras, Weddings, Baptisms. (All Sacramental occasions! Ha!) It's no small feat and you never make just Birria, you make sides to go with it.  (I'm puffing up with pride in this accomplishment. It's happening here, folks! In my house!)

Goat--a full animal, pre-cut, for lots of people. Goats are bony creatures, and by cutting the bone, you also get to enjoy the marrow. Good for strong healthy teeth. Think bone broth!
Garlic--(we peeled three heads for the 42 pounds of goat)
Allspice (also known as Pimienton, or Pimienta Dulce)
Black Pepper (ugh, had to go buy it because I just don't cook with it.)
Bay Leaves
Vinegar (about a cup. Yes, really. It pulls the nutrients out of the bones.)
Tomatoes (LOTS AND LOTS. To be more specific, a pound of tomatoes for every pound of meat.)
Maguey leaf (this is what took me time to find in the middle of November!)
Chile Ancho
Chile Mirasol (this is the original, not sweet, but Guajillo is the same kind and we will be using it here.)
Chile Chilacate (not included in this recipe because it just isn't anywhere to be found. Chiles are also seasonal, like oranges.)
Tequila (optional)
Corona Beer 2 Liter containers (optional)

Onion--chopped for adding to your plate.
Tortillas for eating with your meal.

Also needs side dishes.
Refried Beans
Mexican Rice (to be posted)

Now here come the pictures

There are three heads of garlic here. Peeled and ready for flavoring the meat. We actually used about half of this. It was done before the cooks could do a visual on the meat and decide how much to use.

See this leaf? It's HUGE. My sister-in-love also suggested wearing gloves as we work with it because the oils from the plant leaf cause irritation. I picked up two pairs. It turns out that this penca is for putting in the bottom and sides of the pan so the meat doesn't burn. It really is important. More on that later.
Prepare the tomatoes by blanching them and removing the skin. We will need very little water, as they have their own juices. At the same time, prepare the chiles by putting them in a pot to re-hydrate them. 
Whole Black Pepper, Bay Leaves
Cloves,  and Allspice (Pimienton--which means really big pepper.)

We used about 1 liter of Tequila.
Both of these Coronas went in the pot.
Limes were used on top of our plates, not in the cooking vat.

Just to give you an idea of the sheer number of tomatoes we had to use.
This was a full pot, but it cooked down.

This is slightly blurry because it was a sieve in motion. It is a picture of the re-hydrated chiles with the blended up spices. Very little water added so that it retains it's stronger flavor. This was reiterated to me multiple times, so it's important.

One shot of tequila for the cook first. To make sure it's good, says the head chef.
This man made the birria for our daughter's baptism when we were in Mexico back 9 years ago. He is frequently asked to make it. I am humbled that he and his family agreed to make it in my house and allow me to post it to my blog. 

The flavors. Oh, the flavors. There were so many intricate layers to this it is hard to say what stands out. Dare I even mention that it gets better with age? Black Friday we had everyone come back and we made sandwiches with the meat, salsa, and refried beans. I am salivating right now thinking about it. 

I have so many more pictures to go through that I cannot get through this post in one setting, but it is so good, you have to at least start with this.

More to come...

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